Arizona Healthcare Financial Management Association (AZHFMA)

Banner-UA partnership wins $60M NIH award - largest in Arizona history

A partnership between Phoenix-based Banner Health and University of Arizona has won a $60 million award from the National Institutes of Health for its role in the national All of Us Research Program.

In 2016, the two organizations originally won a $43.3 million NIH award for the All of Us Research Program, collecting $8.8 million before NIH switched gears and revamped the All of Us Research Program.

After submitting a new request to receive funding in the revamped program, Banner and UA were awarded $60 million, which is expected to be distributed in $12 million annual increments through 2023 - as long as they meet certain milestones and funds are still available.

The goal of the All of Us Research Program is to collect health information and blood samples from 1 million Americans to accelerate research and improve health. The goal is to create medical treatments based on patients' individual genetic composition.

Dr. Andreas Theodorou, co-principal of the award, said Banner and UA have been successful in signing up 7,000 participants already because of Banner's broad health care network and UA's academic experts.

It's important for them to get a diverse population in the study, said Theodorou, who also serves as chief clinical education officer for Banner Health.

"The reason why enrolling a diverse population is important is because many of these communities are underrepresented in biomedical research," he said. "The result is we don't know what's actually best for that community. They're receiving treatment that works best on an average."

Angela Gonzales, Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal, covers health, biotech and education.