Stay in the Know: COVID-19

Stay in the Know: COVID-19

This post is sponsored by All of Us Research Program but all thoughts and comments are my own.

Greetings. I pray this post finds you well and in good spirits. A little over a year after the world as we once knew it seemed to have stopped we are now nearing some sense of normalcy. When I last checked on June 1 the state of Louisiana was at ~31.7% completed vaccination rates (LADHH). It’s important to check the facts. I myself am a healthcare professional and believe wholeheartedly in the importance of being informed, represented, and supported. That’s one of the main reasons why I partnered with All of Us Research Program and support their efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the African American community. According to the CDC, Black Americans are:

1.4x more likely to get COVID-19

3.7x more likely to be hospitalized

2.8x more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans (CDC, 2020)

We already know unfortunately that African Americans are currently being vaccinated at a lower rate than white Americans. This is due to both a lack of access and distrust in the medical community. All of Us Research Program was built to help researchers find answers to pressing health issues, although it was not designed to support a pandemic response, the program’s scientists worked quickly to identify activities that could meaningfully contribute to COVID-19 research. COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color makes the All of Us Research Program’s contribution especially important in efforts to learn more about COVID-19 and related health disparities.

The All of Us Research Program initiated three scientific activities to help us better understand COVID-19 and inform current and future pandemic responses. The three activities include the COVID-19 Participant Experience (COPE) Survey, antibody testing, and electronic health records (EHR) integration.

All of Us Research Program launched the COPE Survey in May of 2020, asking current participants how COVID-19 is affecting them and their communities, even those who don’t get sick from COVID-19. The survey ran through early March 2021 and covered subjects on mental health, social distancing, and economic impacts of the pandemic. Through this initiative researchers now have access to information from participants’ experience with COVID-19 and it amounts to the biggest infusion of mental health data in the program thus far.

Antibody testing was also utilized in an effort to help researchers learn more about when and where COVID-19 arrived in the United States and how it affects different communities. This program tested participants’ blood samples for the COVID-19 antibodies which may tell us if a person has been exposed to the virus in the past. All participants gave informed consent to the samples and all results will be unanimously published in a summary of the findings. 

All of Us Research Program also implemented the usage of electronic health records. Electronic health records (EHRs) are a digital version of your medical chart. Participants’ privacy is the program’s top priority and a key part of their process has been removing personally identifiable information before researchers can use the data. By adding EHR information to All of Us Research Program database, they can help researchers study many different problems, including COVID-19 Researchers may learn more about different symptoms and underlying health conditions, as well as the effects of different medicines and treatments.

All of Us Research Program has a goal of one million participants. People who decide to join will share information about their health, habits, and what it’s like where they live. By looking for patterns in this unidentifiable information, researchers may learn more about what affects people’s health. This program is expected to run for 10 years or more currently; this will allow researchers to study health over time. If you decide to join the All of Us Research Program, you will be contributing to an effort to improve the health of generations to come. You also may learn about your own health. I challenge you today to become a part of the solution. You can sign up and help drive research forward by clicking here

As always I’m grateful for you following along and staying informed! It means the world to me. Be Well-Omniley.

 

 

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Belle Omniley

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