All of Us Research Program genetic analysis shared with volunteers

Michelle Anderson recently learned her body metabolizes medicines more slowly than average.

It was a small piece of information, but a “eureka” moment for Anderson, “not because it was a surprise, but because it was a validation of what I know about my body.”

Now, when she gets a prescription, she said she feels empowered to tell her doctor that she’ll likely need a low dose – not based on her own instincts, but because of what her genetics showed. “It gives you information that makes you somewhat on an equal playing field when you go to your doctor’s office.”

Anderson, 54, a “gently retired” registered nurse from Boston, said that’s just one of the benefits she’s received by participating in the federal All of Us Research Program.

The program, run by the National Institutes of Health, has analyzed the genes of about 150,000 volunteers, including Anderson.

A research participant with All of Us learns more about the program from a program staff member in Miami.

On Tuesday, the program announced that those volunteers will begin getting the results of their genetic analysis – information on things like how they metabolize medication, as well as their risks for certain diseases.

Why should someone consider participating in All of Us?

Anderson, who is Black, said she was very skeptical when she first heard about the program. “I had flashbacks of stories and history and all those things the average African American thinks about when you mention research,” she said.