Sign of the Times
“How Research Can Lead to Improved Health Outcomes for Older Adults”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016 there were more than 49.2 million people living in the U.S. over the age of 65. This statistic, coupled with the fact that most patients living with health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other diseases, makes it imperative that medical research improves outcomes for this population.
Finding creative approaches to promote health and well-being and bringing new ideas to our community is imperative in continuing to engage the area’s older adults. In addition to running programs that provide direct support for older adults, New Orleans Council on Aging is interested in providing a forum for our community to learn more about the value and importance of older adults participating in research. Research is the cornerstone of developing the evidence-based programming our team delivers to you.
That is why we support the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program. The mission of All of Us is to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us. All of Us seeks to bring together one million people who reflect the diversity of the U.S. and will donate their health information for at least ten years, creating one of the most comprehensive repositories of health information in the world. The program defines diversity not only by race and ethnicity but includes other determinates of health like age, sex and gender, and geography.
Researchers can use the information collected to help recognize health conditions earlier and identify steps that we all can take to stay healthier as we age. It will also be invaluable in allowing researchers to better understand why people respond differently to various medications and treatments, so they can develop more effective, personalized treatments.
As we are currently experiencing the devastation of the Coronavirus and specifically its negative impact on minority populations who have pre-existing conditions, timing is of the upmost importance. It is our hope that through research, we will now discover new ways to address the impact of health disparities and social determinants that have worked to produce the negative health outcomes we are currently experiencing. The COVID-19 crisis has worked to reveal the problem pre-existing disease and comorbidities with the viral pandemic has had on our population, especially on the elderly. A healthier adult, whether younger or older, will be able to better handle all challenges that could arise.
We want to encourage older Americans to participate in this program. To learn more about All of Us and how to enroll, visit www.joinallofus.org/together