Britta Curl is the force behind the top-ranked Wisconsin women’s hockey team. The UW-Madison graduate student, who helped Team USA earn a silver medal at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship, is a winner both on and off the ice. Currently in her sixth season with the Badgers, the women’s hockey captain is devoted to the future of medicine — much like her love for playing on ice.
Curl is a student-athlete ambassador for the All of Us Research Program-UW. Unlike many research studies that focus on a specific disease or population, the All of Us Research Program provides a national research resource to inform thousands of research questions, covering a wide variety of health conditions.
The goal is to compile a diverse cohort of 1 million or more participants who will contribute data from electronic health records (EHRs), biospecimens, surveys, and other measures to build a comprehensive set of biological, environmental, and behavioral data. The data platform will be open to researchers all over the world.
Curl, who has played in all 41 games this season and ranks second on the team with an impressive 43 points, discusses why she made joining All of Us a priority.
Q: This is your second year as a student-athlete ambassador for the All of Us Research Program-UW. Why are you taking the time to be part of this historic nationwide health research initiative?
A: This is the greatest opportunity that I’ve had to be a part of such a far-reaching and impactful project. The good and diverse research that All of Us is supporting will advance our understanding of disease, improve the health of our world, and benefit people from underserved demographics. I want to be one of the million people that make this research possible.
Q: What’s your hope for the future of the All of Us program and its impact?
A: My hope is that we get 1 million people to participate in the All of Us Research Program and that researchers take advantage of the awesome source of samples. Who knows, maybe one day as a doctor, I’ll be able to do research using this database.
Q: Living a healthy lifestyle must be a priority for a star UW athlete + member of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Can you share why being healthy is important on and off the rink?
A: I rely on the health of my body and my mind to perform at a high level so that I can achieve my personal goals and help my team be successful. Health, to me, is feeling strong and able, and setting myself up for a long and full life.
Q: If you have to pick your top lifestyle/health tip that anyone can start doing today, what would that be?
A: My advice is to never stop moving. I can’t think of a situation or time in my life when I felt physically and mentally worse after exercising. It helps you feel better and live longer.
Q: Some people think you have to be sick or battling an illness to join a research project. Is that true?
A: No. All people have something to offer this large and diverse database that All of Us is creating — that’s the whole point of the project.
Q: Are you confident your DNA sample is protected and private?
A: Yes, I am extremely confident in the security of the samples and information I give to All of Us. They undergo many measures to protect my privacy and remove anything that could link the samples back to me.
Join All of Us online or by calling (888) 294-2661.
Would you be willing to participate in DNA research? We’re curious.