Nav: Home

Henry Ford leads 7-state research consortium awarded precision medicine funding

October 13, 2016

DETROIT - The National Institutes of Health announced today that Henry Ford Health System is leading a five-member research consortium to expand the geographic reach and diversity of the NIH's Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program.

The consortium is one of four regional health care systems newly awarded funding under the PMI Cohort Program, a landmark research effort aimed at advancing personalized health care by studying how individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics influence a person's health and disease risk. The consortium joins a network of other health provider organizations announced earlier this year.

Henry Ford is leading the Trans-American Consortium for the Health Care System Research Network, which comprises four integrated health care systems representing a strikingly diverse community population totaling more than 9 million individuals across seven states. The consortium includes scientists from Baylor Scott & White Research Institute in Texas, Essentia Health headquartered in Minnesota, Spectrum Health in Michigan and University of Massachusetts Medical School.

"We're honored to have been chosen as one of the leaders of such a landmark research initiative and to partner with a distinguished group of health care organizations," says Henry Ford President Wright Lassiter III. "The data we collect could help answer important questions about a variety of health conditions."

The consortium will initially enroll 10,000 participants in the first year, collect their health information and biospecimens, and provide input on developing plans for the Cohort Program. The Cohort Program aims to collectively enroll 1 million participants nationally over several years. Participants will be asked to:
  • Provide diet and lifestyle information.
  • Provide blood and urine samples.
  • Undergo a physical evaluation.
  • Grant access to their electronic medical record.
  • Share real-time information via smartphones or wearable devices.
The NIH emphasized that collected data will be protected by privacy and security safeguards.

"This initiative has the potential to improve prevention and treatment of disease based on an individual's lifestyle, environment and genetics. Ultimately, this could lead to more effective preventive measures and treatments early on," says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and co-principal investigator of the Trans-American Consortium. "We look forward to working with our consortium partners known for their medical and research expertise."

In announcing the new partnerships, the NIH said the organizations "have expertise in engaging racial and ethnic minority populations who have been historically under-represented in biomedical research. They are also well positioned to enroll over time populations that are often unable to take part in research, such as those with mental illness, substance abuse, developmental delays and cognitive impairments."

Brian Ahmedani, Ph.D., director of Research for Henry Ford's Behavioral Health Medicine and co-principal investigator, called the Cohort Program "one of the most revolutionary studies ever developed."

"It is more than a standard research study, but a true patient-provider-research partnership, whereby we hope to work collaboratively to make major advances in understanding risk of disease as well as matching people with the most effective treatments for them. I'm personally very excited about the opportunities this project may offer to improve personalized care, and specifically in my area of passion - mental health care, in the years to come," Dr. Ahmedani says.

Henry Ford is also part of an oncology precision medicine program to revolutionize cancer care in the Midwest. In June, Henry Ford and Syapse, the leading precision medicine software company, announced a partnership as part of the White House Cancer Moonshot's call for action.
About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System is a six-hospital system headquartered in Detroit. It is one of the nation's leading comprehensive, integrated health systems, recognized for clinical excellence and innovation. Henry Ford Health System provides both health insurance and health care delivery, including acute, specialty, primary and preventive care services backed by excellence in research and education. The system is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. Visit to learn more.


Henry Ford Health System
David Olejarz

Baylor Scott & White Research Institute
Kristine Hughes

Essentia Health
Amanda Akason

Spectrum Health
Beth Cranson

University of Massachusetts Medical School
Sarah Willey

Henry Ford Health System

Related Genetics Articles:

Mapping millet genetics
New DNA sequences will aid in the development of improved millet varieties
Genetics to feed the world
A study, published in Nature Genetics, demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology known as genomic selection in a wheat improvement program.
Genetics researchers find new neurodevelopmental syndrome
Researchers have identified a gene mutation that causes developmental delay, intellectual disability, behavioral abnormalities and musculoskeletal problems in children.
The genetics of cancer
A research team has identified a new circular RNA (ribonucleic acid) that increases tumor activity in soft tissue and connective tissue tumors.
New results on fungal genetics
An international team of researchers has found unusual genetic features in fungi of the order Trichosporonales.
Mouse genetics influences the microbiome more than environment
Genetics has a greater impact on the microbiome than maternal birth environment, at least in mice, according to a study published this week in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
New insights into genetics of fly longevity
Alexey Moskalev, Ph.D., Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Radiobiology and Gerontology Institute of Biology, and co-authors from the Institute of biology of Komi Science Center of RAS, Engelgard's Institute of molecular biology, involved in the study of the aging mechanisms and longevity of model animals announce the publication of a scientific article titled: 'The Neuronal Overexpression of Gclc in Drosophila melanogaster Induces Life Extension With Longevity-Associated Transcriptomic Changes in the Thorax' in Frontiers in Genetics - a leading open science platform.
Some personal beliefs and morals may stem from genetics
Penn State researchers found that while parents can help encourage their children to develop into responsible, conscientious adults, there is an underlying genetic factor that influences these traits, as well.
X chromosome: how genetics becomes egalitarian
In cell biology, men and women are unequal: men have an X chromosome, while women have two.
The link between obesity, the brain, and genetics
Clinicians should consider how the way we think can make us vulnerable to obesity, and how obesity is genetically intertwined with brain structure and mental performance, according to new research.
More Genetics News and Genetics Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab