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All of Us Researcher Academy selects 6 HBCUs as institutional champions

The awarded HBCUs will receive $425,000 to support health research

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Following a public call for nominations, RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, has selected six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to serve as the initial cohort of institutional champions for the All of Us Researcher Academy. With support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the program is designed to provide training, technical assistance and peer-to-peer learning for health researchers at Minority Serving Institutions.

Institutional awards of approximately $425,000 will be dispersed to support faculty and staff use of the All of Us Researcher Workbench, a cloud-based platform to enhance data analysis and collaboration.

The awarded HBCUs, shown in the below graphic, stretch from Maryland to Louisiana and include Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Southern University at New Orleans and Tuskegee University. Each institution will support researchers for a year and can welcome visiting students and faculty from other HBCUs to participate.

“We are happy to partner with this group of institutional champions to support the important work of health researchers based at Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Dr. Sula Hood, who co-leads the All of Us Researcher Academy with Dr. Brian Southwell at RTI. “It’s hard to overstate the importance of having better representation in biomedical research. This is a step toward making health data more inclusive and diverse.”

Graphic: The initial cohort of All of Us Researcher Academy Institutional Champions

Researchers affiliated with any HBCU can register for courses offered by the All of Us Researcher Academy. Courses will offer training in coding and data analysis needed to use the All of Us Researcher Workbench, grant writing, publication development, and other topics relevant to scientific research related to the All of Us dataset.

In 2020, RTI received a five-year award from NIH to participate in a national consortium of organizations supporting the All of Us Research Program. All of Us is designed to build one of the largest, most diverse health databases of its kind, engaging at least 1 million participants who reflect the diversity of the U.S., particularly from communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Data gathered from participants will help drive innovation in health care and help scientists understand how genes, health practices and environmental exposures can impact health and illness.

RTI's partners in development of the All of Us Researcher Academy include Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This work is supported by NIH’s All of Us Research Program under award number OT2OD028395.

All of Us” and the All of Us logo are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about the academy, contact AllofUs_Academy@rti.org.