David W. Coon named All of Us Arizona Health Champion for his work in research and health care for older adults

Carrie Whitten Simmons
All of Us Research Program, UArizona-Banner

(June 6, 2022) Phoenix, AZ – The All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health ​​​​​created the Arizona Health Champion award series to recognize health professionals, educators, community partners and researchers who are dedicated to increasing the quality of health care and research, especially in communities that are traditionally underrepresented in health research. An initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the All of Us Research Program, led by University of Arizona and Banner Health in Arizona and Colorado, aims to build the largest and most diverse database of health information of its kind to improve health for future generations. 

The May Arizona Health Champion recipient, David W. Coon, PhD, is the director of the Center for Innovation in Healthy & Resilient Aging at Arizona State University and co-lead of Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement for Arizona Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Coon leads research projects including development of novel interventions for culturally diverse older adults with chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, cancer, HIV, and later onset depression. “Through our work, we continue to learn better ways to alleviate stress and distress and conduct effective care planning for these individuals and their families,” says Coon. 

Coon’s work includes engagement and research efforts with diverse communities including a special emphasis on inclusivity.

“Diversity only increases with age as we consider the unique histories of older adults that are interwoven with their genetic make-ups, physical and mental health histories, race, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, and differences in their home, school, and work environments, “ says Coon. “Engagement across the diversity of our communities helps us on our path to reduce health inequities and enhance quality of life for all as we age and not just for some.”

One of the core values of the All of Us Research Program is that participants reflect the rich diversity of the United States. All of Us UArizona-Banner currently leads the country in enrollment with more than 52,000 participants. More than 80% of those participants come from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research; more than half from racial or ethnic groups that have been underrepresented.

Once a participant is enrolled, their personal information is separated from the data, which is then made available for researchers to study. There are currently more than 1,500 studies using All of Us Research Program’s de-identified participant data. Researchers are studying how factors like genetics, environment and lifestyle affect the way in which diseases and medications impact individuals differently. Study topics include socioeconomic factors in late onset Alzheimer’s, the relationship of mitochondrial genetic variation and age-related illness, and the effects of physical activity on health aging in the Hispanic/Latino community.

To learn more, or to enroll, visit AllofUsAZ.org or call 877-268-2684.

The University of Arizona-Banner Health Program is supported under the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program funding award OT2OD026549 with previous awards UG3OD023171-01 and UG3OD023171-01S1 and the CEAL funding award OT2-HL156812.

All of Us” and the All of Us logo are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

About Banner Health: Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services, including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information visit www.BannerHealth.com.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
Located on campuses in Tucson and Phoenix, the University of Arizona Health Sciences is one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the southwestern United States. UArizona Health Sciences includes the College of Medicine – Phoenix, College of Medicine – Tucson, College of Nursing, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy. In addition, 12 UArizona Health Sciences centers and programs focus on cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, pain and addiction, and respiratory diseases; biomedical informatics, health technology innovation and simulation training; and precision health care and health disparities. A leader in next-generation education, biomedical research and public outreach, UArizona Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners more than $220 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn Instagram).

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