Newswise — The White House and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have announced Baylor Scott & White Research Institute is joining a five-member research consortium to expand precision medicine research.

The consortium is one of four regional medical center groups awarded funding under the NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program, a landmark research effort aimed at advancing personalized health care. Precision medicine tailors treatment and disease prevention to a person’s biological makeup, lifestyle and socio-economic factors.

Baylor Scott & White Research is joining the Trans-American Consortium for the Health Care System Research Network, which includes four integrated health care systems representing a strikingly diverse community population totaling more than 9 million individuals across nine states. The consortium also includes scientists from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Essentia Health headquartered in Minnesota, Spectrum Health in Michigan and University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“We’re honored to have been chosen to collaborate with such a distinguished group of health care organizations,” said Jaime Walkowiak, senior vice president of research and chief operating officer of Baylor Scott & White Research Institute. “The data we collect could help answer important questions about a variety of health conditions.”The consortium initially will enroll 10,000 participants in the first year, collect their health information and biospecimens, and provide input on developing plans for the Cohort Program. Baylor Scott & White Research Institute will recruit 2,000 to 2,500 patients in both North and Central Texas.

“We were chosen based upon our structure and model, including health records, clinic and hospital integration,” said John E. Zeber, Ph.D., of Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple. “For our part, we will be getting some biometric data from the selected patients and with their permission we will get lab values to collect as part of overall data.”

The three-year grant will provide $1.1 million for the first year, said Giovanni Filardo, PhD, principal investigator of the project for Baylor Scott & White Health.The Cohort Program aims to collectively enroll 1 million participants nationally. Participants will:

• Provide diet and lifestyle information.• Provide blood and urine samples.• Undergo a physical evaluation.• Share real-time information via smartphones or wearable devices.

The NIH emphasized that collected data will be protected by privacy and security safeguards. Each participant’s data will be linked to their electronic medical record.

“This initiative has the potential to improve prevention and treatment of disease based on an individual’s lifestyle, environment and genetics. Ultimately, this could lead to more effective preventive measures and treatments early on,” says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences and co-principal investigator of the Trans-American Consortium. “We look forward to working with our consortium partners known for their medical and research expertise.”

About Baylor Scott & White HealthFormed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, the system referred to as Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Georgia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The system now includes 47 hospitals, more than 900 access points, 6,000 active physicians, and 44,000 employees, plus the Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a network of clinical providers and facilities focused on improving quality, managing the health of patient populations, and reducing the overall cost of care. For more information visit:* based on unaudited 2015 fiscal year statements