NEWS | October 13, 2016

NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program Expands in California

UC Davis will be part of California Precision Medicine Consortium

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has named the California Precision Medicine Consortium as a regional medical center group in the national network of health care provider organizations that will implement the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program.

Fred Meyers Fred Meyers

The California Precision Medicine Consortium includes UC Davis, University of California Health, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, San Diego Blood Bank, UC Irvine, UC San Francisco and University of Southern California.The effort is led by UC San Diego. These are the first regional medical center enrollment sites in California, and join several other regional medical centers around the United States announced earlier this year.

The PMI Cohort Program is a landmark longitudinal research effort that aims to engage one million or more U.S. participants to enable research that will, over time, improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics. Participants will be invited to contribute a range of data about themselves by completing questionnaires, granting access to their electronic health records, providing blood and urine samples, undergoing physical evaluations and sharing real-time information via smartphones or wearable devices. Data collected will be protected by privacy and security safeguards. A primary goal of the PMI Cohort Program is to create a national resource for researchers, including citizen scientists, to help answer important questions about a variety of health conditions.

“We were recognized as having the infrastructure to meet the ambitious recruitment goals and the leadership to contribute to the California consortium and the national consortium,” said Frederick J. Meyers, UC Davis associate dean, precision medicine. “The information will be collected with the greatest respect for individual privacy and a commitment to community participation. Just as the large Framingham study improved heart disease outcomes in the U.S., the Cohort Program will likely improve overall health for future generations of all Americans.”

Bioinformatics expert Michael Hogarth, professor in the UC Davis Departments of Internal Medicine and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will serve as the site principal investigator. Also on the UC Davis team are Assistant Professor Katherine Kim of the Betty Irene School of Nursing at UC Davis, who specializes in using information technology to improve community health, care coordination and clinical research, and Associate Professor Alexander Borowsky of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, who will oversee study accrual.

Like other regional medical center groups in the NIH’s PMI Cohort Program, the health care providers that make up the California Precision Medicine Consortium will enroll interested individuals, gather participants’ health information and biospecimens, and provide input on developing plans for the program.

“We want this program to be open to everyone across the United States,” said Eric Dishman, director of the PMI Cohort Program at the NIH. “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.”

With this new designation, the California Precision Medicine Consortium will receive an initial $1.3 million over the next five months. The Consortium may receive additional NIH funding as efforts advance over the next year.  

When the program opens for enrollment, people may sign up through a participating health care provider organization, such as the California Precision Medicine Consortium, or directly using the program website, smartphone application or call center. Visit the NIH’s PMI Cohort Program website to learn more and sign up for updates on program developments, including forthcoming enrollment opportunities.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 619-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit healthsystem.ucdavis.edu.