UIC to host precision health forum
UIC will host a forum on precision health with experts including Pulitzer Prize-winner Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, third floor, Student Center East.
Precision health goes beyond precision medicine, which tailors disease treatment to the patient by prescribing therapies and medications known to work for people with similar physiological and genetic signatures. Precision health goes further by tailoring preventive strategies to the individual. By focusing on an individual’s lifestyle, including diet, exercise and stress — together with genetic risk factors — physicians can help patients make changes that will reduce their risk of disease.
Mobile technology plays a big part in precision health, said Frederick Behm, the Frances B. Geever professor and head of pathology in the College of Medicine and the organizer of the event.
“Using mobile device apps and fitness-tracking wearable technology, we can monitor how a patient’s blood pressure, or blood sugar, or exercise regimen changes in real time, so that when the patient comes to the office, we can look at that information together and develop a plan to address that unique patient’s needs,” he said.
“Big Data, or the ability to process and analyze billions of bits of data from these apps and devices, allows us to make sense of all the information to which we now have access.”
Behm hopes that the forum will inspire new ideas and spark collaboration between Illinois universities to launch new precision health programs that would enroll patients throughout the state.
“UIC is already part of the Illinois Precision Medicine Initiative, which will enroll more than 150,000 Illinoisans as part of President Obama’s national Precision Medicine Initiative,” Behm said. “We can build on our national involvement in precision medicine with new, more local efforts that will help prevent disease, and reduce healthcare costs.”
Event speakers include:
- Mukherjee, assistant professor of medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
- Eric Green, director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health
- Wendy Chung, associate professor of pediatrics in medicine and director of precision medicine, Irving Institute for Translational Research, Columbia University Medical Center
- Mark Hoffman, director and chief research information officer, Children’s Mercy Kansas City