Pitt Greensburg to gather data for national health research project | TribLIVE.com

Pitt Greensburg to gather data for national health research project

Deb Erdley

A big data research project that experts say may change the face of medicine in the next decade is headed to Westmoreland County.

The National Institutes of Health project dubbed “All of Us” seeks to collect health data from one million Americans over the next five years. It is coming to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg on Sept. 18 and Oct. 10 and 16

The university — which has set up four permanent project sites in Oakland and is holding a variety of pop-up clinics around the region — is among about a dozen centers nationwide working to gather data. Eventually, scientists hope to tap that wealth of information to perfect personalized medicine.

Pitt’s goal is to collect data from 120,000 people.

“It’s exciting because that means Pennsylvania will represent about 12 percent of the total,” said university spokesman Bill Young.

Participants must be 18 or older. They are asked to fill out three online surveys covering diet, sleep habits and occupational exposure, consent to give Pitt access to their electronic health records and then provide blood and urine samples.

Large data sets can provide scientists with samples that allow them to drill down to specific pools and explore personalized approaches to health care that might work best for those in such groups.

“Eventually we’ll be in every county in the state,” Young said, adding that Pitt is working with Temple University to complete sampling in Pennsylvania.

He said identifying data will be stripped from the information, which will then be stored in a secure database. A unique identifier attached to each data set will allow researchers to reach out to participants in the future.

All participants receive a $25 gift card upon completion of their visit.

Participants must register in advance by going to JoinAllofUsPA.org/home/schedule.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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