Thomason named All of Us Arizona Health Champion

Selected for work with communities impacted by HIV, AIDS.

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

PHOENIX (June 27, 2022) – The All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health is pleased to honor Jimmy Thomason, executive director of Aunt Rita's Foundation, as the June Arizona Health Champion award winner. All of Us UArizona-Banner 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 work of Thomason and Aunt Rita's Foundation as an organization with a mission to educate, eradicate and alleviate suffering from HIV and AIDS is a well-deserved recognition to the efforts to improve community health.

"Aunt Rita's Foundation is the connector of the HIV community. We started with a bake sale in 1988. Still humble but proud, Aunt Rita's has now given millions to our community with 2022 slated to be our biggest philanthropic year in history, " says Thomason. "We not only provide funding to over a dozen HIV programs, we also promote and facilitate collaboration versus competition among our community organizations and create innovative unduplicated programming to fill in the gaps wherever we see a need. "

Throughout his career, Thomason has served in multiple advocacy roles for the LGBTQ+ community. He has earned awards for his volunteer work from organizations like the Southwest Center, one-n-ten, Phoenix Pride, Aunt Rita's Foundation and more.

"The MSM [men who have sex with men] and trans communities are some of the least represented groups in health research, which means doctors know less about how to treat diseases that affect these communities like HIV and AIDS. The communities deserve a deeper dive into what is happening and what research is being done to end this 41-year epidemic, " says Thomason.

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 54,000 participants. More than 80% of those participants come from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research, and 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 almost 1,800 studies using All of Us Research Program's 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 disproportionate impact on mental health in the LGBTQ+ community during COVID-19, health disparities and aging in the LGBTQ+ community, and the relationship between HIV and cancer.

To learn more, or to enroll, visit 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

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: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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