By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Valley residents can help make national biomedical research more diverse
All of Us
Glenda Tullis, of Sacramento, speaks with All of Us touring member, Josh Perez, after signing up for the program at Williams Brotherhood Park in South Stockton (Photo by Vivienne Aguilar).


CV Journalism Collaborative

San Joaquin Valley residents have multiple upcoming opportunities to take part in a cross-country health research tour designed to give researchers more information to better treat underrepresented groups. 

The national biomedical research program All of Us has touched down in the Central Valley. For the second year, the tour is part of the third leg of a national mobile tour and will continue to make stops until the end of May.

The All of Us program was created in 2015. The National Institutes of Health developed it after the Precision Medicine Initiative was passed in an effort to create a voluntary national research cohort. 

It is designed to improve relations between private medical groups, researchers and patients to empower U.S. residents with tools to better manage their health.

All of Us has a goal of enrolling a million people into the study and creating the most diverse biobank for researchers. Participants are given access to DNA consultations, any research derived from their samples or surveys and more.

The program’s leadership places an emphasis on informed consent, as a direct result of the history of Black and Brown people being exploited in the name of medical research in the U.S.

Why the Valley?

Many local community-based organizations have partnered with the All of Us mobile tour, including Community Medical Centers.

Among the first stops on the All of Us tour through the Valley, CMC hosted a health fair in Williams Brotherhood Park in south Stockton on May 9. 

About 30 people were enrolled and went through the entire experience at the fair, said Tom Bever, senior program manager with Montage Marketing Group, which manages the three mobile tours for the All of Us Journey.

The tour set its sights on California's San Joaquin Valley because of its racially and ethnically diverse residents.

“Stockton is the most diversified city in all of the United States. So Stockton was targeted, as well as areas east of (Interstate 5) as kind of that underrepresented area,” Bever said.

The enrollment process was open to everyone and took about an hour to complete, participants told CVJC. 

Norris Rivers, 57, from Stockton was told by a friend and his wife to stop by the health fair after work. 

Rivers, who is Black, said his only health concern at the moment is high blood pressure. Moving forward, he wants to take part in as many health-related opportunities as possible.

When asked about how he feels the program is handling the informed-consent process and sensitivity towards its Black participants, Rivers said the process was very informative.

“I think it's good for all of us to come out and (take part in the research project) to make a good impact on the city of Stockton,” Norris said. “It's straightforward. This is a great option for you to go out (and) have a voice.”

Another participant, Glenda Tullis, a 57-year-old Native-American, Black and Hispanic woman  who is a registered nurse from Sacramento, approached the All of Us staff after coming to Stockton to complete a task for her master’s degree program. 

“I think that this will be helpful for me, being mixed-race and having diabetes,” she said. “It will help me to learn more about diabetes in my culture, and as well as from my (children), so in the future, they might have a medicine that will help me get rid of diabetes. I just think that this information that they get from this research is going to be so beneficial.”

All of Us has reported enrolling over 800,000 participants across the country so far. 

Jenny Rodriguez, director of development at CMC said this year’s health fair and All of Us experience was larger and was able to incorporate more community partners.

“When it comes to health research, we all rely on national research to address different needs of our populace, the needs of our communities. And so if we understand what those needs are in our communities, then we can better address them and close equity gaps,” Rodriguez said.

Catch the tour near you

Wednesday, May 22  – From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Golden Valley Health Centers Health Fair located at 737 W Childs Ave in Merced.

Thursday and Friday, May 23-24 – Prince Hall San Joaquin Lodge #11 located on 410 East California Ave in Bakersfield.

Tuesday and Wednesday May 28-29  – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dollar World located on 431 Doctor Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Bakersfield.

Thursday and Friday, May 30-31 – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kern Wig and Beauty Supply,430 Brundage Lane in Bakersfield. 

Vivienne Aguilar is the health equity reporter for the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative in collaboration with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF).