Charting Our Future Together: Turning Discovery Science into Precision Health

Gary Gibbons1

  • 1National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH



Plenary Session


08:45 - 09:45 | Mon 6 Nov | Kirschstein Auditorium | MKN

Plenary Talk by Gary H. Gibbons


For nearly 70 years, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has provided global leadership for research, training, and education programs to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) diseases and disorders. Throughout this period, NHLBI-supported research discoveries have helped fuel dramatic declines in death and disability from HLBS diseases and disorders and continued improvements in quality of life in the United States and abroad. Despite these successes, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States and at the global level while other diseases in the NHLBI mission areas such as chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, and sickle cell disease contribute significant mortality, morbidity, and lost economic productivity worldwide. Additionally, disparities in access to quality care based on race, ethnicity, sex, geography, and socioeconomic status remains pervasive in the United States and abroad. Despite these persistent challenges, the NHLBI remains committed to advancing discovery science and related translation to promote precision health for all and enhance human health through several enduring principles that have sustained the NHLBI legacy of excellence. These principles include: valuing investigator-initiated fundamental discovery science; maintaining a balanced portfolio across basic, translational, clinical, population, and implementation science; training a diverse new generation of scientists; supporting implementation science that empowers patients and partners to improve the nation’s health; and innovating an evidence-based elimination of health inequities. Successful pursuit of this endeavor requires the collective effort of a diverse community of partners including patients, researchers, policymakers, care providers, professional organizations, and the private sector. The NHLBI Strategic Vision released in 2016 provides a unique opportunity for a mission-driven focus on building on our past successes, leveraging technological advances, and importantly, taking the next leap forward in precision health for all. This focus addresses both the quality and longevity of life as well as the reduction and elimination of health inequities. In particular, our ability to integrate truly diverse biomedical datasets with social and environmental determinants could usher in a new era of precision health that emphasizes the right treatment, in the right amount, tailored for the right individual patient, delivered at the right time, that yields the right outcomes. Our strategic vision for turning discovery science into precision health is perfectly aligned with the theme of the 2017 NIH-IEEE Special Topics Conference on Healthcare Innovations and Point of Care Technologies: Technology in Translation. We are excited about the opportunity to translate discovery science into health impact and chart our future together with our community of investigators and our key partners – our patients, their family members, and the public. The future has never looked brighter.

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