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Wisconsin researchers awarded $5.3 million for NIH precision medicine research

​Aug. 29, 2017 - All of Us Research Program gathering biomedical data from one million people to advance medical treatments and prevention

Three Wisconsin based medical and scientific organizations – Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and Medical College of Wisconsin – have collectively been awarded $5,360,832 to help implement in Wisconsin the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) All of Us Research Program that aims to benefit communities across the country.

These institutions will partner with BloodCenter of Wisconsin and regional Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to aid in engagement and recruitment of research participants.

The All of Us Research Program is an ambitious nationwide effort to advance research into precision medicine, an approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in biological makeup, environment and lifestyle for each person. The Wisconsin awardees will use their collective resources to enroll interested individuals and gather health information to help researchers understand how these factors can help determine how to best prevent or treat disease. The goal of the NIH All of Us Research Program is to gather health data from more than 1 million people living in the U.S.

The Wisconsin program will represent the collaborative efforts of three fully-integrated regional healthcare systems to form a virtual state-wide integrated delivery network. Together, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and Medical College of Wisconsin will cover 173 clinics, 13 hospitals and five Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). BloodCenter of Wisconsin will educate and engage its thousands of blood donors for potential involvement in the program.

"Our organizations have a long history of research collaboration and robust community engagement, and we're proud to be involved in a program focused on a future where better prevention, detection and treatment are possible through research," Dr. Murray Brilliant, director of the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute's Center for Human Genetics, a division of Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS).

MCHS launched in 2002 its Personalized Medicine Research Project (PMRP), a population-based biobank consisting of genetic information linked to long-term electronic health records from over 20,000 Marshfield Clinic patients. PMRP was recognized as one of the earliest and most useful biobanks in the U.S. Additionally, MCHS is one of the most productive and earliest adopters of precision medicine. MCHS's work has been cited by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins as a model for the federal Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).

"We are delighted to work together with our partners at Marshfield Clinic and the Medical College of Wisconsin in creating an expanded role for precision medicine here in our state," said Dr. Robert Golden, dean, UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "The timing is wonderful, as our School of Medicine and Public Health is about to create a Center for Human Genomics and Personalized Medicine."

According to Golden, this NIH award will create synergies across the partner institutions, and place Wisconsin in a national leadership position in this new approach to human health.

In addition, the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award, held by the University of Wisconsin in partnership with the Marshfield Clinic, has helped support substantial projects in communities throughout Wisconsin. Golden said this sets the stage for widespread participation of Wisconsin populations in the All of Us Research Program.

"I am grateful for the hard work of all the faculty and staff and those of our partners at Marshfield Clinic and University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health that led to this exciting award. This again demonstrates the power of statewide collaboration and between Wisconsin's two NIH funded CTSA programs, which provided the infrastructure needed for this major effort and will ensure its successful completion," said Dr. Joseph Kerschner, MCW's provost and executive vice president and dean of the School of Medicine.

The Medical College of Wisconsin leads an NIH funded regional coalition of academic and clinical institutions, the Clinical Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin, which has been repeatedly cited for its robust community engagement activities. This coalition will facilitate broad participation by all of Milwaukee's diverse communities. The NIH award represents an opportunity to engage populations that have traditionally been underrepresented in biomedical research.

"BloodCenter of Wisconsin's involvement in the All of Us Research Program is a continuation and notable reflection of our collaborative efforts with Wisconsin's scientific and medical community, as we all look to further advance patient care in the future through precision medicine," said Dr. Gilbert White, executive vice president for research, BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

White added that BloodCenter of Wisconsin's scientific and medical research discoveries have made tangible contributions to the care of patients since its founding 70 years ago.

To learn more and to sign up for updates, please visit https://www.joinallofus.org/.


Marshfield Clinic Research Institute

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI), a division of Marshfield Clinic Health System, was founded in 1959. It's the largest private medical research institute in Wisconsin. MCRI consists of research centers in clinical research, agricultural health and safety, epidemiology, human genetics, and biomedical informatics. MCRI investigators publish extensively in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals addressing a wide range of diseases and other health issues, including cancer, infectious diseases, heart disease, diabetes, eye disease, neurological disease, pediatrics, radiology, women's health, agricultural safety and genetics.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in Madison, is the first medical school in the United States to integrate public health into all of its missions, including education. It grants medical, graduate and other health profession degrees. It partners with teaching sites and academic campuses centered in Green Bay, La Crosse, Marshfield, and Milwaukee to enhance the rural and urban educational experiences and service learning opportunities of students across the state of Wisconsin. It has a robust Global Health Program to provide unique learning and service opportunities. The school attracts millions of dollars in basic, clinical, and public health research funding annually and provides a fertile environment for student research. It offers dual degree programs, including MD/PhD and MD/MPH integrated training programs.

Medical College of Wisconsin

With a history dating back to 1893, The Medical College of Wisconsin is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and community engagement.  More than 1,200 students are enrolled in MCW's medical school and graduate school programs in Milwaukee, 56 medical students enrolled at MCW-Green Bay, and 26 students matriculated to MCW-Central Wisconsin in 2016. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY2015, faculty received more than $158 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, MCW faculty direct or collaborate on more than 3,200 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,500 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 525,000 patients annually.

BloodCenter of Wisconsin

BloodCenter of Wisconsin, part of Versiti, is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., that specializes in blood services, esoteric diagnostic testing, organ, tissue and stem cell donation, medical services and leading-edge research. We advance patient care by delivering life-saving solutions grounded in unparalleled medical and scientific expertise. The collective efforts of Versiti affiliates result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care, and cost efficiencies for healthcare systems nationwide. For more information, visit www.bcw.edu and www.versiti.org.

Precision Medicine Initiative, PMI, and All of Us are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 Media Contacts

John Gardner
Marshfield Clinic Health System Director of Communications
715 221-8659
gardner.john@marshfieldclinic.org

Andrew Hellpap
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
608 316-9786
ahellpap@uwhealth.org

Holly Botsford
Medical College of Wisconsin
414 955-8761
hbotsford@mcw.edu

Fay Spano
BloodCenter of Wisconsin
414 937-6124
fay.spano@bcw.edu