This episode we talk about one of the hottest areas of research in the field of informatics: Precision Medicine.  Precision medicine is the culmination of years of work collecting health care data about every individual and putting it into a computable form in an electronic health record.  The holy grail of informatics was the idea that we could reuse these data to make sure that information unique to you was used to make diagnoses, prescribe medicines, and even tell you about your disease risks.  

Josh Denny, MD, MS is a physician and fellow informaticist who has been a world leader in this movement for over 15 years. It’s a pleasure to have him on the podcast.  Josh has played a major role in the creation of  The AllofUs initiative at the National Institutes of Health. This is a big precision medicine initiative with the goal of collecting data for at least 1 million people in a secure and private way, but also in a way that supports researchers around the world who are doing precision medicine research. In fact, Josh is now CEO of the AllofUs Program, which, when you hear him talk about this topic, will come as no surprise to you. He’s low key, affable, funny, and really smart!

We also welcome Brian Carlson, MHSA, who is Vice President for Patient Experience at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and an expert in patient-facing technologies. He knows his way around information technology and informatics as well, as you’ll soon discover. 


Last but NEVER least, it was a pleasure to have Rischelle Jenkins sit in. Rischelle is the Graduate Program Manager in Biomedical Informatics.  Rischelle offered a practical perspective about precision medicine and helped us to break down this complex topic into much more understandable chunks.

We didn’t have a songwriter for this episode,  unfortunately, but we have the next best thing:  a songwriter AFTER this episode. I asked a friend who you heard sing on our inaugural episode. Rhett McDaniel is a quintessential Nashville in the Round songwriter with some really powerful songs like the one you're about to hear.  When he told me about this song, I realized it fit the conversation we had in this episode about precision medicine very well.  The song is called "The Dash"  co-written and sung in part by Adam James Deiboldt.

I asked Rhett how he came up with this song, and this is what he told me:

It was on a sign in front of a church. The song is tricky because it takes on some pretty big existential ideas. The song is about a man who is packing up the last things from the house where he grew up and is reminded how his parents lived a good life, full of love. And that things like letters and photos are kinds of artifacts we leave behind. The character in the song has a moment of realization that he was able to learn more about them by seeing these things packed away for years that revealed new insights into their lives before he was born. He then realizes that life is full of little “births and deaths” and that waking in through front for and then out the back to leave is one as well. What’s important is all the stuff that happened between the times he did that. This is about his time growing up and then moving out. Also, his parents’ time in the house and, even this day he came in, learned new things about his parents and remembered his life inside there...and closed the door behind him, ending this chapter and starting a new one.

Please take a listen to this amazing song and let  know you love it!

Please check me out on twitter @KBJVanderbilt, and on facebook, @Informatics in the Round.  If you like this podcast, please subscribe on podbean or your favorite podcast platform!

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