Predictive health symposium features national experts discussing new model of healthcare

December 07, 2005

A field of national healthcare leaders will assemble at Emory University on Dec. 19 and 20 to offer new perspectives on predictive healthÐÐ a new model of healthcare that will harness advances in bioscience to identify individuals at risk for disease long before symptoms appear and to halt disease before it begins.

Seeking Ponce's Dream: The Promise of Predictive Health will be the introductory event of the new Emory-Georgia Tech Predictive Health Initiative, a collaboration between the two universities that will redirect the focus of medicine from treatment of disease to prediction and prevention by combining technological breakthroughs with an accessible and cost-effective new system of healthcare.

The Predictive Health Symposium takes place Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 19 and 20 from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Emory Conference Center at 1615 Clifton Rd., Atlanta. Registration is open to the scientific and business communities and to the general public, and is available through the website at

Keynote speakers will include Lee Hood, PhD, director, Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle; Ralph Snyderman, CEO, Duke Health System; and Tom Wolfe, author. Other speakers will include Eric D. Green, MD, PhD, scientific director, Division of Intramural Research, NIH National Human Genome Research Institute; Martin Blaser, MD, professor and chair, Department of Medicine, NYU Medical Center; Stan Hazen, MD, PhD, director, Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation; Derek Yach, MD, MPH, professor of global health, Yale University School of Medicine; Muin Khoury, MD, PhD, chief of Public Health Genetics, CDC; Linda Griffith, PhD, professor of biological and mechanical engineering, MIT; and Nina M. Schwenk, MD, chair, IT board committee, the Mayo Clinic. Leading scientists from Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology also are part of the two-day program.

The symposium will engage biomedical scientists and leading thinkers in conversations about what the new biomedicine of predictive health can be and how we can make it work.

"The Predictive Health Initiative will create a new model of health and healing for the 21st century," said Michael M.E. Johns, MD, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Chairman of Emory Healthcare. "We want to define the unique intrinsic and environmental characteristics that predict disease risk for individuals, then work to define and maintain health rather than focus our efforts on treating disease."

Predictive Health and Society is one of the University-wide initiatives within Emory's new Strategic Plan. The nature of predictive health requires dynamic interactions among a diverse group of scholars, and the Emory Predictive Health Initiative will integrate scientific research, education and technology with personalized healthcare. Key concepts in the Emory initiative differentiate it from other programs addressing health care challenges and the opportunities presented by developing science and technology. These concepts include the unique combination of technologies at Emory and Georgia Tech, such as nanobiology, imaging and genomics/metabolomics; the University-wide integration of science, technology, ethics, humanities, law, business, health policy and economics; the developing Systems Biology program at Georgia Tech that will integrate with Emory's design of social models that will be used to implement a new type of healthcare system; and the ability to build bridges between population health and individual health through the Rollins School of Public Health and Emory's extensive partnerships with the CDC.

"Existing and emerging science and technology make it possible for us to understand health and how to maintain it at a level that we could not image even a decade ago," said Kenneth Brigham, PhD, director of the Predictive Health Initiative. "Although we are learning how to live longer and better, translating that knowledge into practice poses challenges that will require major changes in biomedical practice by physicians and scientists, and behavioral changes by all individuals.

Emory University Health Sciences Center

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