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People from a rural and financially struggling area of New York waiting to see doctors in a mobile clinic. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday announced a $4.6 million award in initial funding to health tech company Color to provide results and genetic counseling when desired to the participants in its huge research project, All of Us.

Why it matters: The All of Us project aims to create the largest health database that's inclusive of diverse communities to improve precision medicine. But, the agency also wants the participants — many of whom are in underrepresented communities and may not normally have access to genetic testing and counseling — to receive benefits as well.

"This is the first step in a long journey to return information to the participants."
— Eric Dishman, director of All of Us, to Axios

What's happening: Roughly 188,000 people have enrolled and completed the first protocol for the program, which began in May 2018 and will run for at least 10 years, Dishman says.

  • More than half of the current participants come from historically marginalized racial and ethnic backgrounds, Dishman says.
  • But they continue to actively recruit new participants via community partners, he says, with the ultimate goal of sequencing the genomes of 1 million participants.
  • Underrepresented groups "have been left behind by science, and therefore [some of] the cures" that are found, he says. "It can be harmful not to have science for everyone in your country."

Details: One of the reasons All of Us selected Color is that they already have the technology that can scale up relatively quickly, in hopes of sharing results and offering genetic counseling by early 2020, Dishman says.

  • Color will offer educational materials and counseling in different languages, so participants can speak with their doctors on individual health care risks and treatment plans.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93

Walter Mondale, left, with former President Jimmy Carter in Jan. 2018 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Walter Mondale, who transformed the role of U.S. vice president while serving under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, died Monday at 93, according to a family spokesperson.

The big picture: President Biden, who was mentored by Mondale through the years, said in 2015 that the former vice president gave him a "roadmap" to successfully take on the job.

Scoop: U.S. ambassador refuses Kremlin push to leave Russia

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States ambassador to Russia is refusing to leave the country after the Kremlin "advised" him to return home following new Biden administration sanctions, two sources briefed on the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Sullivan, a respected diplomat who President Biden has, so far, retained from the Trump era, is at the center of one of the most important early tests of Biden's resolve.