NIH commits $31M to use precision medicine to research health disparities

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a division of the National Institutes of Health, will allocate $31 million over the next five years to launch a new precision medicine initiative to tackle health disparities that impact minority communities.

Precision medicine takes into account individual genetic variables, physical environment, demographics, social determinants and lifestyle choices to create new methods of disease prevention, early detection and treatment.

"Precision medicine research endeavors must go beyond biologic and clinical markers and include social determinants of health, such as the economic, social and political conditions that influence health status," said Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, director of the NIMHD.

Priorities of the new NIMHD initiative include:

• Developing new methods for integrating patient data with community influences that affect population health

• Isolating critical biomarkers that can pinpoint disease progression and drug responses in diverse populations

• Translating genomic discoveries into clinical practices and effective treatments

• Determining barriers that may hinder the implementation of precision medicine in care for populations that experience disparities in care

• Identifying causes that incite different health outcomes in minority populations and populations that experience care disparities

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