Health system tapped for national study on disease

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Henry Ford Health System has been selected to participate in a national research project studying disease prevention that will poll some 1 million people on lifestyle, environment and genetics.

The National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that it would be adding the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program to four regional medical center groups.

Selected are Trans-American Consortium for the Health Care Systems Research Network, which includes Henry Ford; California Precision Medicine Consortium; Geisinger Health System; and New England Precision Medicine Consortium.

The centers initially will receive a combined total of $5.5 million for recruitment and infrastructure. However, as the projects advance, they can receive up to $16 million in the first year.

Participants will be asked to provide information about themselves in questionnaires, provide blood and urine samples, get a physical and allow access to their health records.

“We want this program to be open to everyone across the United States,” program director Eric Dishman said in a statement. “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.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, the primary goal of the program is to create a resource for researchers, including citizens scientists, to gather information about health conditions. People can sign up through a participating HMO, smartphone application, the NIH’s PMI Cohort Program website or call center.

President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the program at a news conference Thursday.

Twitter: @NicquelTerry