Connecting with LeeAnn Martinez

Feb. 6, 2023

All of Us’ new executive director is focusing on funding, retention and supporting the staff and researchers who utilize Workbench.

LeeAnn Martinez

LeeAnn Martinez

All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health’s new director LeeAnn Martinez is taking on a booming organization at the nation’s leading enrollment site. Martinez, who started in November, will be guiding a program with nearly 60,000 participants and approximately 4,000 registered researchers on Workbench, the data platform.

Portrait of woman with dark brown hair smiling with her arms folded in front of her. She is wearing a teal blouse and a black blazer.

LeeAnn Martinez, executive director of the All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health, says retaining the high number of enrollees in the program is a top priority.

Martinez joins the program with more than 20 years of experience in clinical administration and program management from various roles at Banner Health and the University of New Mexico.

An initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the All of Us Research Program aims to build the largest and most diverse database of health information to improve health for future generations.

More than 80% of All of Us UArizona-Banner participants are from communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research. More than 50% are part of a historically underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

Martinez recently shared her vision for the future of the research program, how it integrates across the Health Sciences colleges and what “LeeAnnisms” are.

Why did you decide to join All of Us UArizona-Banner?

I was interested in being involved in a research program that aims to change how research and medicine are practiced. I was intrigued by how we can make health care better for everyone by expanding our sample base for researchers and helping patients with genetics data. This is the future of medicine and health, and to help in this process is extremely exciting to me. My knowledge of the Banner system, the contacts that I have, and knowing how to manage a large team in an exceptionally large medical system will be an asset. This will allow us to continue to expand our reach and educate others about All of Us and precision medicine.

Woman wearing a pink and black bicycling outfit and helmet leaning against a saquaro cactus.

(Photo courtesy LeeAnn Martinez)

What will be your emphasis as the new director?

My No. 1 priority is fostering the development of our team and collaborating to achieve both professional and personal goals. The team is amazing; they are our ‘secret sauce’ and why we are so successful. Without them, we would not be able to be the No. 1 consortium in the All of Us Research Program and lead the nation in participant enrollments. My second priority is to secure funding, followed by expanding our program and growing our participant retention efforts so participants continue to be active in program activities after the first two to three years.

What would you like to see in five years?

The continued growth and success of this program. I want to see discoveries that change how we think about the medical research process and have the potential to affect how future patients are treated by providers. I want to hear success stories from participants on how this program helped them.

How will you integrate all five University of Arizona Health Sciences colleges into your mission?

I would like to collaborate with the Health Sciences colleges on educating faculty, staff and students about precision medicine. I would also like to work with our principal investigators to help researchers understand and eventually gain access to the All of Us UArizona-Banner Researcher Workbench. All University of Arizona researchers are welcome to apply for access to use the data in their investigations.

Are there any UArizona research projects that use Workbench data?

Jason Karnes, PharmD, PhD, BCPS, FAHA, an associate professor of pharmacy practice and science in the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, is our director of scientific programs. He is active in guiding investigators to include Workbench data as part of many important lines of research. There are numerous UArizona projects underway in the All of Us Workbench. The most recent projects from our region include five seed projects that launched in October 2022.

What is something no one knows about you?

Woman wearing a black, white and pink bicycling outfit and helmet holds up a bicycle over her head. She is standing in front of a large, decorative rock.

LeeAnn Martinez enjoys participating in Ironman Triathlons. (Photo courtesy LeeAnn Martinez)

I am a triathlete; my favorite distance is the 70.3 Ironman. The training keeps me accountable to getting my fitness in and helps me to manage my stress. I was also a tour guide at Walt Disney World while I was in college. It is always a great day when Mickey is your boss! I laugh at myself all the time. Sometimes I wonder where I come up with such ridiculous ideas. I then share my ridiculous ideas and provide entertainment for everyone around me. I had a staff member once tell me they were her “LeeAnnisms.”