Precision Medicine & Society Conference

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We are looking forward to the virtual third annual Precision Medicine & Society Conference at Columbia University. This year’s Conference is entitled “Precision Medicine & Society: New Perspectives,” and will present the work of emerging scholars in this fast-growing field.

The Precision Medicine & Society Program is an integral part of Columbia’s Precision Medicine Initiative. This University-wide collaboration was created to jump-start academic discussion and research about the interplay between the biomedical advances of precision medicine and the social sciences, humanities, law, and business. It brings together biomedical and public health researchers, clinicians, and bioethicists working at our Medical Center with social scientists, legal scholars, and humanists in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Law and Business Schools.

The first annual conference, held in 2019, focused on issues of particular relevance to the United States, while the second, held in 2020, brought together scholars from other countries to better understand the global impact of precision medicine and other important international issues.

Most of the presenters at our previous conferences have been seasoned scholars or practitioners. This year, the conference will showcase the next generation of scholars working on Precision Medicine & Society issues. For this purpose, we have organized two thematic sessions, each bringing together one senior scholar with three younger, emerging scholars working on a related set of problems. We hope that the ensuing discussion will bring broader recognition to the work of the younger participants, while also linking them to an inspiring model represented by the senior scholar.

The two themes were selected to capture exciting cutting-edge research that is being conducted by emerging scholars and that is pertinent to the key concerns of Precision Medicine & Society. One set of issues relates to the promise of Machine Learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide more precise predictive models capable of improving, individualizing and perhaps even equalizing medical diagnosis, treatment and care. Another set of issues relates to the ethical questions raised by genomics research, from the inclusion of underserved populations among research cohorts, to the problems encountered when extending precision medicine methods to the fields of psychiatry and socio-genomics.

We believe that Columbia University is ideally positioned to lead this conversation, not least because it was among the first academic institutions to create a program dedicated to Precision Medicine & Society. Our thanks to President Bollinger, the Columbia Precision Medicine Initiative, and its director, Tom Maniatis, for supporting the Precision Medicine & Society Program and making possible this third annual conference. We are also grateful to Roy Vagelos, for his vision and support for precision medicine at Columbia.

Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law

Gil Eyal, PhD, Professor of Sociology

Co-Directors of the Columbia Precision Medicine & Society Program

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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

10:45a: Introduction by Gil Eyal and Paul Appelbaum
11:00a – 12:45p: Session One: The Contribution of Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics to Precision Medicine

Moderated by Bhaven Sampat and Ashley Swanson 

Speakers:
Stephen Coussens, Columbia University
Emma Pierson, Microsoft Research, Cornell Tech    
Ziad Obermeyer, University of California Berkeley 
Dan Zeltzer, Tel Aviv University

12:45 - 1:15p   Lunch break

1:15p – 3:00p: Session Two: Empirical Studies of  Ethical Issues Raised by Genomics Research 

Moderated by Sandra Soo-Jin Lee

Speakers:
Anna Jabloner, Harvard University
Daphne Martschenko, Stanford University
Jenny Reardon, University of California Santa Cruz 
Krystal Tsosie, Vanderbilt University

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The first Columbia University Precision Medicine & Society Symposium: “Precision Medicine: Its Impact on Patients, Providers, and Public Health.” The Precision Medicine & Society Program is an integral part of Columbia’s Precision Medicine Initiative (CPMI), which grew out of conversations between President Lee Bollinger and Dr. Roy Vagelos.

We heard from physicians, social scientists, bio-ethicists, journalists, science policy leaders, economists, and humanists who are thinking hard about the social, political, and economic consequences of precision medicine. As cutting-edge basic research is translated into clinical applications, and as advances in the analysis of large datasets come to inform public health policy, there is an urgent need to consider the potential implications for patients, the physician-patient relationship, the economic arrangements underlying the provision of health care, and the social contract between citizens and public health institutions.

The Precision Medicine & Society Program—a University-wide collaboration of disciplines at Columbia University—was created to jumpstart academic discussion and research about these issues. It brings together biomedical and public health researchers, clinicians and bio-ethicists working at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center with social scientists, legal scholars and humanists in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Law School.

While advances in diagnosis, targeting, personalization and prediction remain for the most part promissory, there is little doubt that over the long term they will transform the practice of medicine, the meaning of disease, and the nature of patienthood. Precision medicine will alter the division of labor among clinicians, information scientists, and researchers, and rechannel the flow of personal data from patients to doctors, healthcare organizations and for-profit entities. This will require fundamental adaptations in medical education, in the relations between doctors and patients, in legal and regulatory frameworks, and in arrangements for payment and reimbursement. We believe that Columbia University, as a leading teaching and research institution, is ideally positioned to lead the conversation on these issues.

Our thanks to President Bollinger, the CPMI, and, especially, to its director, Tom Maniatis, for supporting the Precision Medicine & Society Program.

Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law

Gil Eyal, PhD, Professor of Sociology

Co-Directors of the Columbia Precision Medicine and Society Program

SPEAKERS:

Harold Varmus, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College

What “Precision Medicine” Means for a Biomedical Scientist

 

Paul Starr, PhD, Princeton University

The Social Challenges of Precision Medicine

 

Naveen Rao, MD, Rockefeller Foundation

Applying “Precision” to Community Health

 

Eric Juengst, PhD, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Ethical Challenges in Precision Approaches to Infectious Disease: The Case of Phylogenetic Tuberculosis Sequencing

 

Sophie Day, PhD, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Imperial College London

Historicizing Precision Medicine for Breast Cancer by Reference to Previous Service Developments in a London (UK) Hospital Group

 

Catherine Bourgain, PhD, French National Institute for Health and Medical Research; Cermes3; CNRS, EHESS, Inserm, and University Paris Paris-Est University

Making Tumor Genetics Doable in the Clinic. Insights from a French Case Study

 

Ashveen Peerbaye, PhD, Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (LISIS, CNRS)

Making Tumor Genetics Doable in the Clinic. Insights from a French Case Study

 

Tanya Stivers, PhD, UCLA

What Would Precision Medicine in the Clinic Look Like? Some Lessons from the Return of Exome Sequencing Results

 

Antonio Regaldo, MIT Technology Review

Precision Gone Mad: A Reporter’s Adventures with Polygenic IQ Scores, Pay-to-Play Gene Therapy, and CRISPR Babies

 

Jonathan LaPoo, MD, CBS News; NYU Langone Medical Center

Reporting on Precision Medicine for CBS News

 

Jeremy Greene, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

The Computer in the Clinic: Past Futures of Precision Medicine

 

Matt Might, PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham

The Algorithm for Precision Medicine

 

Dana Goldman, PhD, University of Southern California

The Economics of Personalized Medicine and the Value of Improved Diagnostics

 

Frank Lichtenberg, PhD, Columbia University

How Many Life Years Have New Drugs Saved? A 3-way Fixed-Effects Analysis of 66 Diseases in 27 Countries, 2000–2013

 

Christina Cogdell, PhD, University of California, Davis

Designing Complexity: Pushing the Limits of Big Data

 

Peter Lloyd Jones, PhD, Lancaster University, UK

Imagining the Future of PM: Design & Science for Next-Gen Cell-/Sel-Fies

 

Jenny Reardon, PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz

Can Precision Medicine Be Just?

See our video library for conference talks here.