From reactive to proactive health

Our moderator is Gretchen Sorensen of Sorensen Ideas. Sorensen opens with a brief introduction: “There’s a revolution going on right now in biology and medicine, and Seattle is at the forefront of it,” citing examples not only in global health but in biomedicine generally.

The revolution is a shift from reactive to proactive in health and biomedical research. We are looking at genetics, the environment, and interactions between them and changing medicine for the future. Medicine is becoming more personal with increased understanding and accessibility of genomics. Patients and consumers are playing a key role, participating more in determining their own medical future.

Biobanks are more than libraries of flesh,” Sorensen declared, in response to some popular media descriptions of repositories. (CityClub blogger Sara Neppl clarified that Sorensen was quoting this Wired magazine article from June 2010 that referred to biobanks as “libraries of flesh.”)

Biobanks combine biological specimens of organs, blood, and so on with data about health and lifestyle. Combining all of this is very powerful but also requires that we proactively and comprehensively address issues of public trust and ethics in research. Today’s panel discussion is one more step in that effort.

Moderator Gretchen Sorensen introduces our topic:

Photo by Jeffrey Luke for CityClub Seattle

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