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Newswise – BALTIMORE, June 21, 2022 – The University of Maryland Medicine, the joint venture of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland Medical System , today 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. medical mysteries, generating insights and accelerating discoveries that can improve the health of Marylanders for generations to come,” said the study’s principal investigator, Stephen Davis, MBBS, FRCP, FACE, MACP, Professor Theodore E. Woodward and chair of the Department of Medicine at UMSOM, director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and vice- chair of clinical translational science at the university. of Maryland, Baltimore.
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 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 safer individualized healthcare,” said study co-director Alan Shuldiner, MD, John L. Whitehurst Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Personalized Medicine and Genomics at UMSOM. “It 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 E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Mohan Suntha, MD, MBAPresident and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System, added: “As physicians, scientists, and researchers, we are incredibly excited about the hope and promise that My Healthy Maryland offers. This 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 platform 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.”
About University of Maryland Medical School
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland Medical School was incorporated in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today to be one of the world’s fastest growing leading biomedical research enterprises – with 46 academic departments, centers, institutes and programs, and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a two-time distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide intensive research, academic, and clinical care to nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has nearly $600 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments ranking highly among all medical schools in the nation for research funding. As one of seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 students, trainees, residents and fellows. The combined medical school and medical system (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of more than $6 billion and an economic impact of nearly $20 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine, which ranks 8th among public medical schools in terms of research productivity (according to the Association of American Medical Colleges profile) is an innovator in translational medicine, with 606 active patents and 52 start-up companies. In the last US news and world report ranking of best medical schools, released in 2021, UM School of Medicine is ranked #9 among 92 public medical schools in the United States and among the top 15% (#27) of 192 public and private medical schools in the United States. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu
About the University of Maryland Medical System
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic regional health care system focused on meeting the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery, and research to the care we provide and educating the state’s future physicians and healthcare professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Vocational Schools (Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and dentistry) in Baltimore. As one of the largest private employers in the state, the health system’s more than 29,500 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations, including 12 hospitals and 9 health centers. emergency care from the University of Maryland. UMMS’ flagship college campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialty care. Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the state. For more information, visit www.umms.org.