An anonymous Atlanta foundation has given $3 million to support the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Initiative, a new model of healthcare that redirects the focus of medicine to health maintenance rather than treatment of disease. The funds will be used to help launch new programs that will define and measure health by identifying novel biomarkers and predictive models, develop interventions that optimize health, and apply this new knowledge to individuals and populations.
Emory hosted the second annual Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Symposium on Dec. 18 and 19 at the Emory Conference Center.
The Predictive Health Initiative will combine a research core with a clinical testing ground for new discoveries aimed at keeping people healthy. The predictive health research program will link the systems biology program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, and the new Emory program in computational and life sciences. The initiative will launch a major effort to develop and validate predictive biomarkers of health, disease risk and prognosis that are generic to all diseases or specific to diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and atherosclerosis.
"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. We are extremely grateful to this foundation for joining with Emory University to launch this critical component of our new vision for transforming health and healing."
Predictive Health and Society is one of the University-wide initiatives within Emory's strategic plan, and the nature of predictive health requires dynamic interactions among a diverse group of scholars. Through the Predictive Health Institute, Emory plans to lead the reinvention of biomedicine by combining research discoveries in prediction, prevention, and health maintenance with investigations in anthropology, ethics, behavior, health policy, law, business and religion.
"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. This gift brings us closer to our goal."