NIH Increases Participation in Precision Medicine Initiative

There are now 8 healthcare provider organizations added to the Precision Medicine Initiative.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced they have added 4 medical center groups to the organizations that will implement the Precision Medicine Initiative.

The groups added to the national network of healthcare provider organizations will receive $5.5 million to start recruitment and build infrastructure, according to a press release from the NIH. The latest awardees are the California Precision Medicine Consortium, Geisinger Health System, New England Precision Medicine Consortium, and the Trans-American Consortium for the Health Care Systems Research Network.

The centers may receive up to $16 million in total funds during the course of the first year. There are currently a total of 8 healthcare provider organizations that will enroll patients, collect information and biospecimens, and develop plans for the program.

The Precision Medicine Initiative is a cohort research program with the goal of engaging 1 million or more individuals to improve more individually-based treatments. Participants who enroll in the program will provide health, environment, and lifestyle information.

They will also provide blood and urine tests to determine genomic and biological information. Participants will also be required to share their electronic health records and use mobile health devices and apps to share additional data.

Data will be protected by security safeguards, and be used as a national resource for researchers to answer questions about various conditions, according to the press release. The goal of the program is to improve the ability to prevent and treat diseases for a specific person based on factors such as lifestyle, environment, and genetics.

To ensure high enrollment, individuals may sign up through a participating healthcare provider organization, the program’s website, smartphone application, or call center.

By expanding the reach of the program, these health care provider organizations have different expertise in engaging individuals of different races and ethnicities, especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented in research, according to the press release.

These organizations also have experience with groups that have not often been able to take part, including those with mental illnesses, substance use disorders, developmental delays, and cognitive impairments.

“We want this program to be open to everyone across the United States,” said Eric Dishman, director of the program. “These additional health care provider organizations will help us in our efforts to reach communities that have been underrepresented in research. By contributing their information, these communities will help people and their health care providers identify the right prevention strategies or treatments. With the PMI Cohort Program, we’re making a concerted effort to include people from all communities and walks of life, to make sure that the knowledge we gain benefits everyone.”