All of Us Research Program Seeks Input on Environmental Health Data

May 5, 2022
Man sitting on tree in park

Submissions will inform program’s approach to expanding research platform

The National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gather public suggestions on integrating environmental health data into its platform for data analysis, the Researcher Workbench. Inclusion of this data will drive new areas of research and insights on the influence of the environment, alongside social, biological, and other determinants of health.

“The air we breathe, the water we drink, even the ground we walk on, all have an impact on our health and well-being, but reliable information on these environmental influences are difficult to capture and can vary dramatically from one community to the next,” said Geoffrey Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical and scientific officer of the All of Us Research Program. “All of Us is well-situated to serve as a platform for dramatically advancing our understanding of environmental health, and we want to be sure we are building on best practices from the environmental research community.”

All of Us’ Researcher Workbench is one of the largest datasets of its kind with a wide variety of data types—genomic data, survey responses, electronic health records, physical measurements and wearable device data. The program plans to add data linkages to pair participant data with data from existing national datasets that collect environmental information. In addition, the program expects to collect environmental data from its anticipated cohort of at least 1 million diverse participants.

Responses on specific categories of environmental exposure, as well as valid and reliable measures, are sought for consideration in shaping how the environmental data, particularly when paired with other data types, can be most beneficial to researchers. The program will consider the information shared from the RFI, along with the potential participant burden, costs and ethical considerations when developing its plan for incorporating environmental data.

“Our participants provide so much time, energy and data to the program,” said Ginsburg. “We want to be sure that we are thoughtful of any additional requests we make by ensuring the data will have the greatest potential for advancing our understanding of the environment’s impact on our health and to provide value back to our participants for providing their data to us.”

Responses will be accepted electronically through May 31, 2022. To learn more and submit comments, view NIH Request for Information (RFI) on Integrating Environmental Data into the All of Us Research Program.

All of Us is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).