Obama Administrations’ actions to advance the Precision Medicine Initiative


On July 7th, 2016, the Obama administration announced its next steps in pursuing the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), introduced by the President in January of 2015. In the hopes of facilitating new biomedical advances and the widespread use of genetic characteristics in patient treatment and prevention strategies, the administration has outlined three major steps.

Firstly, to further its efforts in attracting more than 1 million voluntary research participants, the administration is investing $55 million in new awards from the National Institutes of Health. The investment will assist in building the foundation and infrastructure of the PMI Cohort program by supporting several Healthcare Provider Organizations, a data and research center, and a participant technologies center.  The NIH has selected four regional medical healthcare providers as initial partners from across the country. These include:

  1. Columbia university Health Sciences, partnering with the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Harlem Hospital,
  2. Northwestern University, partnering with the University of Chicago, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services and University of Illinois at Chicago.
  3. University of Arizona, Tucson, partnering with Banner health
  4. The University of Pittsburgh

Additionally, the NIH is partnering with six Federally Qualified Health Centers, healthcare providers which qualify for reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, among other benefits. These FQHC’s include:

  1. Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville, Tennessee
  2. Community Health Center, Inc. in Middletown Connecticut
  3. Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center in Columbia, South Carolina
  4. HRHCare in Peekskill, New York
  5. Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson Mississippi
  6. San Ysidro Health Center in San Ysidro, California

The NIH has also partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which helps to enroll veterans in the PMI Cohort Program and shares valuable information gained during the Million Veteran Program, which allowed researchers to study health issues especially pertinent to veterans.

The Administration has taken expansive steps to support both researchers and participants in the PMI cohort, in terms of data support, tools and technology. The NIH has funded an award to Vanderbilt University, partnering with Verily, and the Broad Institute to create the data infrastructure for the program. The infrastructure will give participants the ability to contribute their information in a private and secure manner, while giving qualified individuals access to the data. Furthermore, the NIH is providing additional funding to the Scripps Research institute and Vibrent health, in partnership with Sage Bionetworks, PatientsLikeMe, Walgreens and other partners, to development the tools and technologies necessary to enable maximum participation from people across the country in the study.

The final of the three steps announced by Obama’s administration is a more modern and updated insight towards regulating genomic tests. With the launch of their new platform, PrecisionFDA, the FDA gives the public a way to share and compare the accuracies of their DNA sequencing tests. In addition, the FDA is publishing a guide to ensure a streamlined procedure to guarantee the safety and reliability of the tests.

The official fact sheet regarding the administrations actions can be read here.