Connection, education, participation, and empowerment—these are defining characteristics of strong and healthy communities.
A recent partnership between the National Network Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) and the All of Us Research Program seeks to build and strengthen these characteristics in communities across the U.S. The mission of the NNLM is to “to advance the progress of medicine and improve public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improve the public’s access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health.”
The All of Us Research Program aims to advance discovery in biomedical research and improve health by providing more precise, individualized treatments for disease. The All of Us Research Program is a clinical trial that seeks the participation of over one million individuals traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research—people of color, women, people of diverse sexual orientations and identities, and people from diverse environments and socioeconomic backgrounds—to make biomedical advancements possible.
The NNLM/All of Us partnership empowers public libraries to educate the public about the All of Us Research Program and connect participants with health information. Through the partnership, libraries are encouraging people to take an active role in their health, by asking questions, learning about data privacy and informed consent, and learning how to find reliable health information. Libraries are also encouraging the public to participate in discussions about research ethics and genetics, and to think critically about these issues when assessing the value of their own contributions, as individual participants, to clinical research, medical advancements, and health of their communities. Libraries empower their communities by listening to their health needs, convening discussions, offering health and wellness programs, and finding answers to their health related questions.
Libraries truly are the foundations of strong and healthy communities through connection, education, participation, and empowerment. The NNLM encourages you to celebrate National Library Week, April 7-13, and discover how libraries are building a strong community.