UPMC gathering health info for study

Residents of Altoona and the surrounding areas will have a chance to participate in a study that could change the future of the way medicine and health care is administered.

The All of Us Pennsylvania Enrollment Center had its grand opening Thursday at the UPMC Station Medical Center.

“This study may have implications on medications you and I take,” UPMC Altoona President Jerry Murray said. “We have an opportunity for Altoona to be represented in the important national program. This study will have an impact on everyone, your families and the future of medicine.”

The study is gathering the information of 1 million people nationally and at least 120,000 regionally. Participants will fill out three questionnaires and consent forms before giving a DNA specimen, six tubes of blood and a urine sample, and they will also have their measurements taken. If you fill out the questionnaire online and make an appointment beforehand, your time in the office should be about 20 minutes.

The study takes into account how someone’s family history could impact what dosage of medicine they receive rather than using the simple demographic of their race and age.

“On my father’s side, there are a lot of heart issues,” said Altoona resident Bertha Creamer, who is participating in the study. “My mother’s side has diabetes, so both sides have different problems. So I did a survey on the computer and got weighed and measured. I feel really good about helping people. I use several medications, and some I have been able to get off of from walking, and if they can get a better idea of how to treat me and other people that do this study, then it’s really going to help people.”

Appointments can be made 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but hours and days may be extended. Participants will receive compensation of $25 after completion of the visit.

“If you are on the fence, think of the future,” Tom Malay, a registered nurse at UPMC Station Medical, said. “This could help with yourself in the future or a family member. You could just help the overall population by doing this study.”