LDS Hospital

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National Healthcare Visionary Sets Sites on the Future of Medicine, Celebrates Milestone with Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital

Jennifer Barrett

 (801) 408-2182


SALT LAKE CITY, UT (1/18/2010) – Dr. Gregory Downing, special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and a driving force behind the national movement toward personalized medicine, will paint a portrait of the future of healthcare at a special fifth-birthday celebration for the Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital.

The event is Thursday, January 21, 9-10 a.m., in LDS Hospital’s auditorium, 8th Ave. and C St., in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Downing launched the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to realize the dream of personalized medicine under the direction of former Utah Governor and then-HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt.

Personalized medicine will use discoveries in the field of genetics to provide customized care to treat illness — and even prevent it — for individual patients. The goal is that physicians someday will be able to deliver exactly the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time for every person in the United States.

Dr. Downing will discuss the power and promise of genetic breakthroughs to bring this vision to life, and will also talk about the role that institutions like the Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital will play in determining and delivering this kind of individualized care.

The Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital was established in 2005 by Intermountain Healthcare to harness the power of genetics and to expand the range of safe, effective treatments available to patients.

“To my knowledge, this institute remains unique in the country,” says Marc S. Williams, M.D., director of the institute. “Most private healthcare systems don’t invest in this kind of emerging science. In contrast, Intermountain Healthcare has consistently committed resources to fund innovative programs such as informatics and quality improvement — investments that have ultimately returned great value to the organization and community.”

In addition to its work with the federal government, the Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital has partnered with others to develop national strategies for using informatics and family history to support this effort, including:

  • Microsoft. The institute is working with the computer giant to create an online tool for individuals to create family health histories that can be incorporated into electronic medical records.
  • The American College of Medical Genetics. Dr. Williams serves as a vice president for the organization and is helping to craft national guidelines for screening and treating patients who have or are at risk of developing genetic conditions.

In addition to Drs. Downing and Williams, the Jan. 21 celebration will also include brief remarks by G. Michael Vincent, M.D., an emeritus physician who led the effort to create the institute, Mikelle Moore, administrator of LDS Hospital, Brent Wallace, M.D., chief medical officer for Intermountain Healthcare, and Raymond Gesteland, PhD, interim director of personalized health care and distinguished professor of human genetics at the University of Utah.

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