Health disparities conference to focus on precision medicine

By Alex Branch

Dr Vishwanatha

Personalized medicine is a rapidly-emerging approach to disease prevention and treatment but too often research participation is not reflective of our country demographics.

Ensuring that the racial and ethnic, minority, socioeconomically-disadvantaged and rural populations that disproportionally share the burden of poor health share the benefits of personalized care is the focus of the 13thAnnual Texas Conference on Health Disparities.

The conference, Diversity in the Era of Precision Medicine, will be held June 7-8 at UNT Health Science Center and feature national and international experts.

“A lot of the research and trials that study this kind of personalized care are not being done on populations that are representative of the true demographic of patients,” said Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, PhD, Regents Professor, Vice President and Director of the Texas Center for Health Disparities at UNTHSC. “Our goal is to raise awareness for developing precision medicine interventions that include health disparity populations.”

Precision medicine takes into account individual variability in the genes, environment and lifestyle of each person. Treatment and prevention plans are tailored to each individual patient, rather than disease.

UNTHSC researchers are exploring the potential for precision medicine to treat or prevent chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases.

The conference topic merges the university’s innovation in precision medicine with its emphasis on solving health disparities. The Texas Center for Health Disparities’ mission is to prevent, reduce and eliminate health disparities in the community through research, training, education and outreach.

Conference topics will include ethics and engagement for precision medicine in rural America and pharmacological considerations, such as poor medication adherence among health disparity populations. Adrienne White-Faines, MPA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of the American Osteopathic Association will deliver the keynote address.

For more information and to view the full list of speakers, visit the conference website.

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