NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem is proud to announce the hospital has been selected among four medical centers in New York City that will be part of a nearly $4 million national (NIH) study in support of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI)—a large-scale research effort to extend personalized medicine to a variety of human diseases. The award is estimated to total $46.5 million over five years, pending progress reviews and available funds. The aim of the prestigious study is to engage a million people in a significant research effort to improve the nation’s ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetics. NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem will partner with Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian to ensure participants in the research represent the geographic, ethnic, racial and socioeconomic diversity of the country. On a local level, the goal is to enroll 150,000 culturally diverse volunteers/participants by 2021.
“The ‘participant-powered’ research that will result from our partnership with CUMC promises to help transform the way we achieve our mission to deliver equitable and culturally responsive care to the city’s most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Ram Raju, President and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals. “Our collaboration with CUMC also underscores the critical role that the public hospital system plays in medical education and cutting edge research to benefit the communities we serve.”
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“Using our credibility capital with the community and patients alike, we will leverage our relationships to engage, educate and invite participation into this landmark study,” said Ebone M. Carrington, MPA, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem. “This important scientific investigation will give us greater understanding into the relationship of the biology of disease and illness that disproportionately impact the community we serve and hopefully lead to ways to prevent these diseases and customize health care solutions that lead to better outcomes when illness occurs.”
“This study is tremendously significant not just because it may reveal important information about disease, but also because it will focus on ways to help patients prevent disease and remain healthy throughout their lives,” said Rhonda Trousdale, MD, Chief of Endocrinology at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem one of the Principal Investigators selected for the NIH grant. “We hope that our participation will ensure that all communities that are affected by illness are included in this important effort.”
“The PMI Cohort Program aligns perfectly with our own precision medicine effort, which we launched in 2015 in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian and faculty from across Columbia University,” said Lee Goldman, MD, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and Chief Executive, CUMC. “This award, in collaboration also with NewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell, and our long-standing colleagues at New York City Health + Hospitals/Harlem, will extend our ongoing successes in taking an individualized approach to treating some cancers and rare genetic diseases to a broader range of human illnesses across the ethnically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse population we serve. It will also enable us to make sure that research findings benefit our local population and beyond as quickly as possible.”
According to the NIH news announcement, the PMI Cohort Program is one of the most ambitious research projects in history and will set the foundation for new ways of engaging people in research. PMI volunteers will be asked to contribute a wide range of health, environment and lifestyle information. They will also be invited to answer questions about their health history and status, share their genomic and other biological information through simple blood and urine tests and grant access to their clinical data from electronic health records. In addition, mobile health devices and apps will provide lifestyle data and environmental exposures in real time. All of this will be accomplished with essential privacy and security safeguards. As partners in the research, participants will have ongoing input into study design and implementation, as well as access to a wide range of their individual and aggregated study results. For more information about this NIH grant, visit www.nih.gov.