National Academy of Medicine

Getting It Right with the Precision Medicine Initiative: The Role of Health Literacy

By Ruth M. Parker, Suzanne Bakken, and Michael S. Wolf
February 02, 2016 | Commentary

In early 2015, President Obama announced a $215 million investment in the 2016 budget to revolutionize health improvement efforts and disease treatment. The Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) is a new model of patient-powered research using big data to expedite greater understanding of a range of cancers and eventually many understudied and rare conditions (White House, 2015a). The intent is that genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that could guide prevention and treatment efforts at the individual level will become more readily identified and available to inform clinical decision making, self-management, and population health. The PMI brings to bear the long-standing promise of predictive analytics to personalize medicine with far greater potential than we have seen to date. A cohort of more than 1 million volunteer participants will be sought to contribute genomic and health data over a yet unspecified period of time. Although many details have not been finalized, the PMI clearly is a new and exciting direction for medical research, and the benefits are unquestionable if executed well.



Suggested Citation

Parker, R. M., S. Bakken, and M. S. Wolf. 2016. Getting It Right with the Precision Medicine Initiative: The Role of Health Literacy. NAM Perspectives. Commentary, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. doi: 10.31478/201602a


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.