Barbara Kimbro lives her life with optimism despite facing several significant challenges. Diagnosed at the age of six with rheumatoid arthritis, she has lived most of her life with mobility challenges and pain. In this Squeeze the Day podcast we learn about navigating life with a disability, serving as an All of Us Research Program peer ambassador, and how volunteering enriches her life. This conversation underscores her passion for people, precision medicine, and the importance of living life to the fullest.
Q. Tell us about the All of Us Research Program and your role as peer ambassador.
I get to go out and introduce it to people … to tell them how to join and give my opinion. …I meet a lot of new people… It benefits others to help them to know about how to get on a research program, and how to learn more about their disabilities. We had a series about diabetes, and I talked to a lot of people about diabetes. I showed them charts and how to go on the website to get more information about it and how to learn more…, how to take care of themselves with their diabetes-like programs, like nutrition classes, a lot of different stuff like that. It helps me because I was born with RA, and we did an assessment on rheumatoid arthritis in general. I found out a lot of things and learned more information about my disability…
Q. Why are you such a passionate volunteer?
I like people. I like helping people to understand about what’s out there for them. I mean, we wouldn’t know anything if we did not have All of Us. I mean seriously, we really want to know what’s going on through the programs — what you can sign up for to find out what it’s really like — if you have high blood pressure or something in your blood that we can correct or we can talk to our doctors about… I love being around and knowing about different things. I love finding out about different things… that are part of your life. This could really help a lot of people.
Q. Tell us about home health and how technology has helped you, especially during COVID.
I did a program at everyone’s center during that time. I even did an exercise program with a lady in Florida as well as an art class online… without technology, I would not know anything. I would not know what to do. During the pandemic, it [technology] saved my life. It really did.
In this interview, Kimbro underscores the role doctors and Vanderbilt play in her life as health care advocates and as an All of Us Research partner. She explains the importance of research programs and how they will help future generations.
One of the biggest takeaways from this interview is the importance of communication and connection in the lives of older adults. Kimbro emphasizes the value of being a good listener and the power of interacting with others. She highlights the value of being involved in the community and engaging in activities that keep the mind and body active, especially at senior or community centers and through adult day services programs. In addition, Kimbro encourages community leaders to find transportation solutions for individuals with disabilities and emphasizes the need for better accessibility and support in this area. Her insight into the experiences of older adults with disabilities is a valuable and important wake-up call for all of us.
This Squeeze the Day is brought to you by the All of Us Research Program from the National Institutes of Health. Learn how you can help change the future of health by participating in the program.
Visit joinallofus.org to learn more.