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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

DANVILLE, PA -- Geisinger Health System has been named as one of four new health care provider organizations (HPOs) to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program to help build a nationwide million-person strong study.

Geisinger will operate as an enrollment center to help create a unique and incredibly diverse research cohort for the PMI Cohort Program, a landmark longitudinal research effort that aims to engage 1 million or more U.S. participants to improve our ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.

Combined, the four new HPOs will receive initial funds of $5.5 million to begin recruitment and build infrastructure. As efforts advance, the centers may receive first-year funds up to a total of $16 million. Geisinger Health System joins awardees announced earlier this year to enroll interested individuals, gather participants’ health information and biospecimens and provide input on developing plans for the program.

The PMI was launched by President Barack Obama in 2015 “to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.” Geisinger’s participation will bring the benefits of this national program to a largely rural population.

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

After launching its own cohort study in 2007, Geisinger already has more than 120,000 participants enrolled in its MyCode Community Health Initiative, a precision medicine project that includes a system-wide biobank designed to store blood and other samples used by researchers to help develop optimal treatments tailored to the individual needs of Geisinger patients.

“We are honored to be chosen to play an important role in a program that makes patient care more personalized and will drive innovation in medicine for future generations,” said Geisinger President and Chief Executive Officer David T. Feinberg (right), M.D., MBA. “This is truly the creation of anticipatory medicine that will allow us to treat patients before they get sick and help prevent and treat life-threatening diseases before they take hold. Precision medicine is a game-changer in health care and we are excited to be at the forefront.”

Individuals participating in the PMI Cohort will donate biospecimens – for example blood or saliva – and then fill out enrollment surveys, undergo a standardized physical evaluation and commit to sharing their electronic health records with researchers.

“Large quantities of data are needed to reap the most rewards from precision medicine research,” said Marylyn D. Ritchie (left), Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biomedical and Translational Informatics at Geisinger Health System. “Part of Geisinger’s work, in addition to helping collect this data, will be to help the NIH combine and analyze the data,” said Ritchie, an informatics specialist. “One of the unique things about the PMI Cohort Program data is that it will be available for all researchers and citizen scientists, with applicable security and privacy protections,” Ritchie said.

“Geisinger’s early and substantial commitment to genomics and precision health anticipated President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative to improve the health of our country,” said David H. Ledbetter (right), Ph.D., ACMG, Geisinger’s executive vice president and chief scientific officer. “We are pleased that the NIH has selected us as a healthcare provider organization to share our lessons learned and to benefit our patient participants.”

Geisinger’s status as a PMI Cohort Program enrollment center means patients already participating in the MyCode Community Health Initiative will now have the opportunity to enroll in the national precision medicine program. 

 

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov. 

 

About Geisinger
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.