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October 14, 2016

UMass Medical School joins White House precision medicine initiative

  • Medical School

In collaboration with four regional medical center groups, UMass Medical School will help to implement a prestigious precision medicine program aimed at individualizing disease prevention and treatment, the National Institutes of Health announced on Thursday, Oct. 13.

The Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program, launched by President Barack Obama at the 2015 State of the Union address, aims to engage 1 million or more U.S. participants to improve the medical community’s ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.

The NIH announced an initial $5.5 million grant award to support funding for four new network Healthcare Provider Organizations (HPOs). Kathleen Mazor, EdD, professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, associate director of the Meyers Primary Care Institute, and a national leader in health literacy, is a co-investigator for the Trans-American Consortium for the Health Care Systems Research Network. The consortium is being led by investigators at Henry Ford, and also includes scientists from Baylor Research Institute, Essentia Health and Spectrum Health.  

The new HPOs will receive initial funds of $5.5 million to begin recruitment and build infrastructure. As efforts advance, the centers may receive first-year funds up to a total of $16 million.

“We are honored to have been chosen to play a fundamental role in an ambitious research project alongside a team of outstanding medical centers who are all committed to pioneering research and clinical care in precision medicine,” Dr. Mazor said. “In the initial phase of the research, we will be working with our colleagues to engage with people who may be interested in enrolling in this exciting project, and to foster relationships with community organizations and advocacy groups.”

The four HPOs join awardees announced earlier this year to enroll interested individuals, gather participants’ health information and biospecimens and provide input on developing plans for the program.

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