Said Ibrahim Named to NIMHD Advisory Council

Said Ibrahim Named to NIMHD Advisory Council

New NIH Focus On Precision Medicine's Equity and Access Issues

Perelman School of Medicine Professor Said Ibrahim has been named an ex officio member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NACMHD) of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

Ibrahim, MD, MPH, an LDI Senior Fellow and Director of the Veterans Administration Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), has long focused his research on health equity and disparities, particularly in the area of osteoarthritis care.

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Said Ibrahim, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and LDI Senior Fellow.

'Seat at the table'
"This was all very exciting," said Ibrahim as he returned from his first NIMHD meeting in Washington. "It gives CHERP a seat at the table on a national level and it will also help me advise young investigators on the direction of health equity research."

Created in 1990 the NIMHD's mission is to foster and lead scientific research aimed at improving minority health. The Advisory Council meets three times a year to review all NIH health equity grants that have received fundable scores and decide which ones to approve for funding.

Focus on 'precision medicine'
Discussions at last week's Council meeting focused on the issue of precision medicine. "Genomics-informed medicine is the new hot thing," Ibrahim said. "But these same new technologies also raise issues of access, cost and coverage for racial and ethnic minorities. Some of these procedures can be very expensive."

Ibrahim also pointed out that genomics-related diagnostics are an important area of research for the VA which in 2011 launched the "Million Veteran Program" whose goal is to establish one of the world's largest DNA databases. The program has already collected samples from more than 400,000 veterans.

In a separate, similar initiative launched in January, 2015, the NIH has its own precision medicine program that is building a million-person database of DNA samples to support new areas of biomedical research.