UM Medicine launches statewide precision medicine study

University of Maryland Medicine, the joint venture of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) have launched a landmark initiative called My Healthy Maryland Precision Medicine Research. The project aims to enroll 250,000 Maryland residents over the next decade who reflect the state’s diversity and want to play a pivotal role in helping researchers understand how genes and lifestyle affect the health of a individual..

Particular emphasis will be placed on underserved populations who experience significant health disparities, leading to more disease and shorter lifespans. The large-scale effort to collect broad sources of health data, including genetic information, will help researchers better understand human genomic variation and its relationship to disease and treatment.

“My Healthy Maryland is a pioneering initiative that aims to advance discoveries related to health and disease and accelerate the implementation of those discoveries…to improve the health of Marylanders for generations to come. come,” said the study’s lead researcher. Stephen Davis, MBBS, FRCP, FACE, MACPProfessor Theodore E. Woodward, Chair of the Department of Medicine at UMSOM, Director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and Vice President of Clinical Translational Science at University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

Residents of Maryland reflect a genetically more diverse community compared to the general population of the United States, with nearly one-third of residents identifying as African American, more than 10% identifying as Hispanic or Latino, and 6 % identifying as Asian. Maryland is also home to a large immigrant population: one in seven Marylanders was born in another country, with El Salvador, India, China, and Nigeria among the top nations represented in the state. Additionally, a significant percentage of state residents live in rural communities, and many live in coastal communities with different environmental exposures and dietary habits than the nation as a whole.

“This is an opportunity for Maryland’s diverse community to team up with researchers to better understand how our biology, lifestyle, and local environment affect our health,” said the study co-lead. Toni Pollin, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at UMSOM. “We also hope it will help accelerate our understanding of how individuals and their healthcare providers can use information about genetic variation to predict, prevent, detect and treat disease.”

Study participants will receive periodic overview reports about study progress, especially research results that may lead to better ways to treat or prevent disease. They will also have the opportunity to enroll in new research studies. In the future, the researchers also hope to offer study participants the opportunity to learn about their own genetic variations that may warrant follow-up medical evaluation.

“We want to advance discovery related to health and disease and accelerate the translation of these discoveries into more effective and safe individualized healthcare,” said the study co-lead. Alan Shuldiner, MD, John L. Whitehurst Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Personalized Medicine and Genomics at UMSOM. “This will help us maximize the value of health care delivery in Maryland and beyond.”

“A big part of the School of Medicine’s mission is to meet the unique health needs of the local Maryland community. Our state has a vibrant and genetically diverse population, and we must work to fully understand how genes interact with our environment, especially for those living in economically disadvantaged communities,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBAExecutive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UMB, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Professor Emeritus and Dean of UMSOM.

Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and CEO, UMMS, added, “As physicians, scientists, and researchers, we are incredibly excited about the hope and promise that My Healthy Maryland offers. It is an example of academic medicine at its best, bringing together exploration, research, and innovation to benefit the health of tens of thousands of Marylanders.

The University of Maryland Medicine partnered with digital health research company Vibrent Health to host the study on Vibrent Health’s digital health research platform. This technology is designed to recruit and engage diverse research participants and collect data from surveys, genomics, biological samples, electronic health records, wearable devices and other sources. The platform allows researchers to get a complete picture of the health of research participants.

“We are thrilled to partner with the University of Maryland Medicine to bring the latest data-driven digital health research technology to My Healthy Maryland,” said Praduman “PJ” Jain, CEO and Founder of Vibrent Health. . “We are committed to working with research institutions like UMSOM to make digital health research accessible to people from diverse communities who have historically been underrepresented in biomedical research.”

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