What does public health have to do with personalized medicine? Ten years of thinking, talking, and writing on this question have turned a lopsided seesaw into a springboard for dialectic. The connections between human biology and epidemiology must grow stronger before either science can fully deliver on its promise to help people stay healthy.
After training in preventive medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics, I had a 25-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My first encounter with genomics was in the HIV epidemic monitoring program in the late 1980′s, when the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was new technology, available in only a few US laboratories. Within ten years, PCR had become indispensable in public health research and surveillance. It had also inspired the human genome project. I joined CDC’s new Office of Public Health Genomics in 1999.
Disclosure: Since retiring from the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service in 2009, I have worked as an independent consultant. I continue to work on CDC projects with the Office of Public Health Genomics, as well as other groups. I am not paid for writing this blog and receive no income from it. Inspiration for posts comes from many sources, including scientific publications, media reports, websites, and other blogs. I credit these sources and link to them directly whenever possible. I do not write about projects that I am consulting on or discuss information that is not in the public domain.
Disclaimer: The posts on this blog represent my opinions and the comments reflect the views of their respective authors. None have been reviewed, edited, or endorsed by any employer, past or present. As for the future, I can’t be sure.