Dishman stepping down as director of NIH All of Us program to become chief innovation officer

National Institutes of Health sign
The National Institutes of Health All of Us research program announced major leadership changes this week. (NIH)

The National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) All of Us precision medicine research project announced leadership changes Tuesday as Eric Dishman will be stepping down from his role as director of the program.

Dishman, who was tapped to lead the All of Us program in April 2016, said once a new leader is selected he will transition to the role of chief innovation officer, driving the strategic and user-centered development of new program features.

"This will give me the opportunity to continue to bring in new methods and processes for innovation from my 25-year career in Silicon Valley," he said.

RELATED: NIH All of Us project tops 270,000 sign-ups and on track to enroll 1M participants by 2024

Described by NIH as a social scientist and researcher, entrepreneur and business leader, patient and patient advocate, policy advocate and thought leader, Dishman said the move to lead innovation at All of Us will also enable him to focus on his health.

"As someone treated for cancer for 23 years and a transplantee, this will be an opportunity for me to focus on staying healthy over the long term and spend more time wearing my 'patient advocate' hat, engaging directly with our participants and community partners," Dishman said in a statement.

Prior to leading the All of Us program, Dishman served as vice president and Intel Fellow of Intel Corporation’s Health and Life Sciences Group.

RELATED: NIH's Dishman: EHR access is a 'fundamental' pillar of precision medicine research

The change also represents the evolution of the program from a startup to a more established organization with an emphasis on enhancing the All of Us experience for participants and researchers alike, he said.

A nationwide search will begin this week for a new director/CEO to lead the program into its next phase, the NIH said. 

"I have loved being the 'start-up CEO' of this program more than any job in my life, and I’m grateful to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins for his support as we built the program and through this transition," he said. "I also want to acknowledge the talent, commitment, and camaraderie of the entire All of Us team and consortium, who have accomplished a tremendous deal in short order. I look forward to working with them as we continue the journey to revolutionize research and health into the future."

RELATED: NIH: All of Us precision medicine project finally ready for prime time

Last week, the All of Us program reached a milestone when it announced it would provide $4.6 million in funding to health tech company Color to provide results and genetic counseling to the 25,000 people who participated in the All of Us pilot program. 

To date, no government study has returned individualized genetic data to participants, researchers say.

"Participants are our partners in research, who may want to receive their own health data, including genomics. The genetic counseling resource will help our participants interpret and act upon their health information," Dishman said in a press release.