Precision Medicine and Society

The success of the University’s Precision Medicine Initiative requires a strong, coordinated research and education program addressing ethical, legal, economic, social and humanistic issues relating to precision medicine and encompassing faculty in the social sciences, humanities, law, business, bioethics, medicine and other disciplines—what we have come to call the Precision Medicine and Society program.  By developing such a program, Columbia is unique among its peer academic institutions in supporting scholarship in precision medicine beyond clinical and basic science research.  Columbia’s Precision Medicine and Society program is tackling the broadest questions facing society that must be explored and answered before precision medicine can realize all of the benefits it promises and to do so equitably. 

The Precision Medicine and Society program has the following goals:

  • To stimulate consideration by Columbia faculty of the issues raised by precision medicine for individuals and society
  • To convene scholars from different disciplines, along with policymakers and practitioners, to identify key issues in need of theoretical and empirical exploration
  • To promote interdisciplinary research on topics relating to precision medicine and society
  • To create courses and other educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and to enhance the teaching on the impact of genetics and genomics on science and society
  • To cultivate junior scholars interested in focusing on this area
  • To consider the global implications of precision medicine and engage in a dialogue with scholars in both the United States and abroad
  • To play a significant role in education of the public and of policymakers regarding issues raised by the introduction of precision medicine.

The Precision Medicine and Society Program is led by faculty members Alondra Nelson, PhD, a sociologist, and Paul Appelbaum, MD, a psychiatrist and bioethics expert. A Steering Committee of faculty members from both the Morningside and Medical Center campuses was convened in 2016.  Initial efforts include supporting seminars, seed grants, workshops, curriculum development and conferences. 

Please visit one of our upcoming events to learn more.