St. Elizabeth Invited to Precision Medicine Summit at the White House

St. Elizabeth Healthcare is one of 30 organizations across the nation that has been invited by the White House to participate in President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative Summit on February 25.

This event will bring together 150 leaders from the Federal government, private sector, academia, research organizations, and patient advocacy groups to highlight precision medicine efforts, share best practices, and identify opportunities for further collaboration. President Obama will attend the Summit to hear individual views from attendees and foster collaboration around this important initiative. The Summit will be held February 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and is available via live stream at

The White House is convening this summit just more than a year after President Obama announced his Precision Medicine Initiative. The President allocated $215 million in the 2016 budget to the initiative, providing funding to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Precision Medicine tailors treatment and prevention strategies to people’s unique characteristics, including their genome sequence, microbiome composition, health history, lifestyle, and diet.

Sarah Giolando, Chief Strategy Officer of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, has been invited to attend the Summit to discuss its initiative to use precision medicine to identify the appropriate medication to treat depression and other behavioral health disorders, based on a patient’s genetic profile, often referred to as pharmacogenomics. Studies have demonstrated that when physicians used the results of pharmacogenomics tests to inform medication selection, patients achieved better efficacy, with less side effects, in less time, at a lower costs.

“Pharmacogenomics provides physicians better insight as to which medications will work best for a patient. It truly takes the “guesswork” out of medicine and results in the patient getting the right medication and the right dose, the first time,” said Ms. Giolando. “St. Elizabeth is always looking for ways to leverage innovative approaches that improve patient experience, patient care and reduce costs for patients – effectively achieving the ‘triple aim’ of health.”

“The impact of getting the medication wrong for a behavioral health diagnosis can be frustrating, or in some cases even tragicwhen a patient does not respond to a medication treatment,” said Dr. Anthony Alvarez, St. Elizabeth Behavioral Health Medical Director. “We need to use all of the tools available to us to get it right the first time.”

Sunnie Southern, CEO of Viable Synergy, is also attending the Summit. St. Elizabeth is collaborating with Viable Synergy to provide a Digital Resource Center called the Precision Medicine Innovation Station. Patients and familieswill be able to access educational resources, identify clinicians who offer Precision Medicine testing, sign-up for supporting services such asgenetic counselors and medication financial assistance programs, and join peer support communities.

More information on the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative and St. Elizabeth’s commitment can be found here.

- Staff report/Photo: Sarah Giolando (provided)