The Keck School of Medicine of USC announced Tuesday it will take part in a nationwide $1.5 billion study aimed at gathering health information from 1 million or more people across the country to build the world’s largest and most diverse data resource for health research.

The All of Us Research Program will open enrollment Sunday and will be led by the National Institutes of Health. One of the project’s priorities is to achieve a demographically, geographically and medically diverse group of participants, most notably by including those who are generally underrepresented in biomedical research, USC said.

“USC is uniquely positioned to help the team achieve its diversity goals,” said Daniella Meeker, a researcher at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. “This initiative will inform the way that health care and precision medicine is created in the future. It’s like the human genome project but for the entire American population.”

The project is designed to assist in a wide variety of studies by gathering information on an array of health conditions, since many different researchers will be able to access data from the program.

Medical breakthroughs can occur through improved understanding of the role genetic differences play in human health and disease, said David W. Craig, co-director of the Institute of Translational Genomics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“However, the impact and reach of biomedical breakthroughs depend on the diversity of research participants, their cultures and their numbers,” Craig said. “The Keck School of Medicine of USC is primed to help lead clinical translational research programs such as All of Us because Southern California is a great melting pot of diversity.”

Congress has authorized $1.5 billion over 10 years for All of Us, and more than 27,000 people nationwide have already joined the program, USC said.

“The time is now to transform how we conduct research — with participants as partners — to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins. “This is what we can accomplish through All of Us.”

More information on the project is available at www.JoinAllofUs.org.

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