School of Nursing and Health Studies Receives Funding to Participate in NIH Program

American Association of Colleges of Nursing Funds SONHS Plan to Expand Awareness and Participation in the NIH’s All of Us Research Program

The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies was one of six nursing schools selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to receive funding through its mini-grants program in support of the All of Us Research Program. The School was selected based on its proposed communication and education plan to help increase participation of underrepresented communities in biomedical research.

“By supporting the All of Us Research Program and expanding the pool of individuals available to participate in critical research initiatives, academic nursing is helping the NIH in its efforts to improve the health of all Americans through the identification of more effective and tailored prevention strategies and treatments for diseases impacting diverse populations,” said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors.

Launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on May 6, 2018, the All of Us Research Program seeks to extend precision medicine to all diseases by building a national research cohort of 1 million or more participants reflecting the diversity of the United States. AACN joined with NIH to advance this initiative by administering a mini-grants program to facilitate the engagement of the nursing education community with the All of Us Research Program, and in particular, its focus on including communities that have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research (UBR). Funding received through this program will be used to increase awareness of the program and the importance of participation of UBR members. This initiative uses collaboration between established community partners and nursing schools to disseminate information on the All of Us Research Program.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies’ plan, authored by Rosina Cianelli, Ph.D., MPH, RN, FAAN, IBCLC, and Natalia Villegas, Ph.D. ’12, MS, RN, IBCL, leverages existing partnerships with the School’s Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO) and longtime community partner M.U.J.E.R., a Homestead-based social service organization providing resources to predominantly low-income and rural residents of South Miami Dade County, in particular migrant farmworkers, immigrants and other vulnerable populations.

“Our goal is to engage 150 rural community members in meaningful conversations about the All of Us Research Program through a health fair, announcements on local radio stations, social media, and face-to-face meetings,” said Cianelli. “This effort is important because these rural communities have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research, yet they experience a higher-than-average incidence of chronic disease like hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis.”

“M.U.J.E.R. is proud to join this study as a community site where the different outreach activities with rural community members will be conducted,” said Susan Rubio Rivera, executive director of M.U.J.E.R. 

The five other schools receiving funding are Bluefield State College (WV), New York University, Northwestern State University (LA), The University of Alabama, and University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

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