Event Recap: All of Us HBCU Road Tour at Tuskegee University

Jun 23, 2023 | All of Us, CCPH Updates, MSI, Video, Webinars | 0 comments

On April 13, 2023, CCPH launched its second stop on the All of Us HBCU Road Tour at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee community is home to one of the darkest eras in American history and research. The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Syphilis Study at Tuskegee was conducted between 1932 and 1972 to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis. As part of the study, researchers did not collect informed consent from participants and did not offer treatment, even after it was widely available. The study ended in 1972 on the recommendation of an ad hoc advisory panel.  

After the study, sweeping changes to standard research practices were made. Efforts to promote the highest ethical standards in research are ongoing today. The Black community remains indefinitely scarred by this unethical study. This community’s enduring mistrust of the government, healthcare systems and research is rooted in the inhumanity of research like the Tuskegee Study.

The Tuskegee University All of Us HBCU Road Tour featured a webinar that honored the lives lost and lives impacted by the legacy of the Tuskegee Study. It also spotlighted current research being conducted by the Tuskegee University, North Carolina A&T State University and Morgan State University All of Us Institutional Champion Teams. There were over 350 attendees that joined both in-person and virtually, primarily HBCU researchers, faculty, and students in the biosciences and social sciences from HBCUs across the country. 

What was the goal of this event? 

“This event today gives you a glimpse of what has been going on [with the All of Us research projects]. You might say it  is a progress report of sorts. But, my prayer and hope is that by God’s grace and with the provision of appropriate resources, in due time this event will stimulate the interest of faculty and students to observe the great potential of a huge [All of Us] national database for research, get involved, learn how to use the resource and even become participant partners in the All of Us research program that aims for precision population health toward health equity.”

Dr. Stephen Sodeke, All of Us Institutional Champion and Principal Investigator, Resident Bioethicist for the Center for Biomedical Research and Professor of Bioethics and Allied Health Services, Tuskegee University

Why focus on HBCUs? 

During the webinar, CCPH Executive Director, Al Richmond, MSW, emphasized the proximity of HBCUs to their communities as critical to CCPH’s work of advancing health equity and social justice. 

“As graduates, alumni, friends, and researchers from HBCUs, we have an opportunity because of our proximity to the problem. We are all very aware of health disparities in this nation and the intractable conditions that many of our communities live in, and the health inequities that they experience each day, including the social determinants of health that have so many people in the African American and Black community, Brown communities, and poor White communities in this intractable position of really not being able to find their way forward as relates to improved health. I believe the All of Us Research Project holds that opportunity; and I believe that because of the proximity of the HBCUs to the problem, they are well positioned to address the issues of health inequities.”

What is CCPH’s role in the All of Us Program?

CCPH in partnership with RTI International is tackling the critical issue of the underrepresentation of HBCUs conducting medical research. By conducting  ongoing engagement and outreach activities at HBCUs, like the Road Tour, CCPH works to ameliorate the underrepresentation of HBCUs in research. Outreach activities are designed to encourage HBCU researchers to use the data found in the All of Us Researcher Workbench, increase participation in the All of Us Researcher Academy and overall, and increase awareness of the All of Us Research Program.

What’s next?

Next Road Tour stop will be Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

  1. Learn more about the Researcher Workbench
  2. Subscribe to Connections, a newsletter from the All of Us Researcher Academy
  3. Visit the All of Us Research Program website

About the Researcher Academy

The All of Us Researcher Academy is a comprehensive program that provides training and technical assistance for researchers conducting research with the All of Us Researcher Workbench, the cloud-based analytics platform where registered researchers can access participant data. 

The All of Us Researcher Academy encourages researchers to engage All of Us data to explore questions about health and wellbeing. Currently, All of Us Researcher Academy resources are free for students, faculty, and post-docs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities [i.e., institutions described in section 4(b) of Executive Order 14041, incorporating by reference the institutions listed in 34 C.F.R. 608.2].  

All of Us Researcher Academy Partners

RTI International

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health

UNC | The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences

The All of Us Researcher Academy is supported by the Division of Engagement, Award No. 1OT20D028395-01, All of Us Researcher Academy Program, National Institutes of Health.