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NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program expands to California

October 13, 2016

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.

The California Precision Medicine Consortium is led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with partners Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; San Diego Blood Bank; University of California, Davis; University of California Health; University of California, Irvine; University of California, San Francisco; and University of Southern California, Los Angeles. These are the first regional medical center enrollment sites in California, and join several other regional medical centers around the United States that were 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.

"The California Precision Medicine Consortium assembles a talented team from across California to develop a comprehensive approach that will ensure the rich demographics of the state are reflected in the cohort of one million or more people who will help advance health discoveries in the U.S.," said Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, a principal investigator in the California Precision Medicine Consortium and professor of medicine, chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and associate dean for informatics and technology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "It will be great to see people from all ethnicities and various socio-economic levels benefiting from and being able to contribute to the overall Precision Medicine Initiative that President Obama announced in his 2015 State of the Union Address."

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.
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University of California - San Diego

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