The Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) at University of Utah has been awarded $1.7 million for the first year of a partnership award from the All of Us Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award may total up to $8.7 million over the anticipated five-year project period. With this funding the GSLC will work collaboratively with the All of Us Engagement Team to create educational materials on genetics and precision medicine for the public, patients and healthcare providers. The landmark All of Us project aims to enroll 1 million U.S. volunteers from all backgrounds to help create a comprehensive biomedical research platform that would be one of the world’s largest and most diverse.
Participants will contribute different types of information over many years, through surveys, electronic health records, physical measurements, bio-samples and wearable technologies. Information will be stored in a secure system, with safeguards in place to protect privacy, and made accessible to researchers for thousands of health studies. Discoveries would enable development of personalized disease treatments and prevention strategies.
“Many communities have been left out of research in the past, and we want to change that,” said Eric Dishman, director of All of Us. “Beyond raising awareness, we want to gain participants’ trust and work together to speed up medical breakthroughs.”
Louisa Stark, director of the GSLC and professor of human genetics at University of Utah School of Medicine, said an award for the five-year period would be the largest for the center since it was founded in 1994.
“This award recognizes the Genetic Science Learning Centers’ world-class team and the award-winning work they have done over the past 25 years.” She added, “We are pleased to be collaborating with the All of Us Research Program and its awardees. The award will take advantage of the synergistic academic and community collaborations we have built in Utah for public engagement in health and science.”
The GSLC is a world leader in science and health education. It has developed two widely used life science education websites including, https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/ which is the nation’s most visited genetics education website. It records 60 million-page views yearly. The second website, https://teach.genetics.utah.edu/, offers free educational materials for teachers.
Stark will lead the educational materials development project funded by All of Us. Collaborators include the U’s Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science; the Therapeutic Games and Apps Lab of the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program; Community Faces of Utah, a community health partnership; and the nonprofit organization Equality Utah—all based in Salt Lake City.
HCM Strategists, of Washington, D.C. will work with Utah’s GSLC on the project.
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About the Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) at University of Utah: The Center’s mission is making science and health easy for everyone to understand. Its talented team creates educational materials that are multimedia-rich, interactive, inquiry-based, and user-focused. They are disseminated via its award-winning Learn.Genetics and Teach.Genetics websites. It also provides educational programs for students, teachers and the public. Through research and evaluation, it aims to understand how people learn and how to build effective materials and programs. For more information visit https://www.gslc.utah.edu.