The YMCA of the Capital Area consistently prioritizes “Equal Access for All.” Before the pandemic, equal access was at the forefront of our mission to provide programs and services that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. As the health crisis continues and economic impacts are affecting so many people during these uncertain times, our Y continues to make financial assistance available to all in our community for the Y’s local programs and services.

The Y’s purposeful outreach to ensure equal access for all was a driving force that led to a partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the All of Us Research Program. The All of Us Research Program aims to collect data from 1 million or more people that reflect the diversity of the United States to make accessing data easier for researchers. Partnerships like this one with the YMCA of the Capital Area will help the All of Us Research Program engage individuals who have been long excluded from biomedical research, creating one of the most robust and diverse data resources for scientists to turn to.

Another goal of the project is to make sure all volunteers will be able to access their own genomic data when available and share the results with individual health providers. This would reinforce the importance of “partnership,” in which volunteers contribute to the database, but in return also have the opportunity to learn about their health status, and in effect, how it might affect those who share similar DNA or background.

Too many people in our community remain significantly underrepresented in health research. Through this partnership, we work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation can reach their full potential with dignity. Our commitment to inclusion creates better communities, and we are happy to participate in this research program that will help make precision medicine available for the diverse population we serve.

Ready to contribute? Everyone is encouraged to participate from all races and ethnicities at Joinallofus.org/BatonRouge. The only exceptions at this time are anyone under 18 or anyone in prison or jail (this might change in the future).

CHRISTIAN ENGLE

president, CEO of the YMCA of the Capital Area

Baton Rouge