HHS Secretary Leavitt Receives Personalized Medicine Coalition Award for Leadership
News Nov 12, 2008
Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt has been chosen to receive the 2008 Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award from the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) for his leadership in engaging government to advance personalized healthcare on a national scale.
The annual PMC award recognizes the contributions of a visionary individual whose actions in science, business or policy have advanced the frontier of personalized medicine.
Secretary Leavitt “has provided extraordinary leadership in the recognition of the importance of personalized medicine in health care,” says Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School, who nominated the secretary for the award. “He is intensely focused on making health care more transparent in quality and price, and reducing the time and expense of bringing safe and effective drugs to market.”
According to Edward Abrahams, PMC’s executive director, Secretary Leavitt’s leadership “raised the level of awareness about the promise of personalized medicine to heights it would not have reached otherwise.”
Personalized medicine is the use of molecular analysis to better manage a patient’s disease or predisposition to disease in order to achieve optimal clinical outcomes by helping physicians and patients choose the approaches best suited to the patient’s genetic and environmental profile.
Secretary Leavitt was sworn in as the 20th Secretary of Health and Human Services on January 26, 2005. As Secretary, he helped the federal government take notice of the role personalized medicine has to play in health care. He used his platform to convey to the public and the government the message that personalized medicine will make health care more transparent in quality and price, and reduce the time and expense of bringing safe and effective drugs to market.
After his arrival in Washington, Secretary Leavitt sought to engage HHS and other federal agencies in ways to make personalized medicine a reality. He established an office within HHS that has been effective in communicating to a wide range of agencies the implications of personalized medicine, and the need to integrate science with information technology to realize the promise of this new way of practicing medicine.
Secretary Leavitt’s efforts have the potential to leave a lasting impact on the landscape of personalized medicine. Among other activities, he proposed that HHS create a network of data repositories across the country to enable more organized research in personalized medicine.
Secretary Leavitt has said that genomics will play an increasingly larger role in medicine, and that now is the time to figure out how best to incorporate genetic information into e-health records, before multiple nonstandard approaches take hold. He predicted that within a decade, genomics will transform the way medicine is practiced.
“Personalized health care means knowing what works, knowing why it works, knowing who it works for, and putting that knowledge into practice for patients,” Secretary Leavitt said at the PMC’s annual State of Personalized Medicine luncheon in 2006.