Providence Health & Services hospital system is hoping that the promise of personalized medicine will boost its ability to manage the health and wellness of the populations it treats.
To that end, the Catholic system has partnered with the Institute for Systems Biology, a Seattle-based biomedical research organization that's exploring the connection between a patient's genetic makeup and health improvement. Its president and co-founder, Dr. Leroy Hood, will become senior vice president and chief science officer of Renton, Wash.-based Providence.
Hood's addition to the system “offers a tremendous amount of direction for us,” said Dr. Rodney Hochman, Providence's CEO. “Everyone is looking at what is the intersection between personalized genomics and how do you use that to improve care for patients. We're hoping to streamline how quickly we can get things done.”
The institute will retain its own board of directors under the agreement, but will benefit from the health system's deeper pockets. Providence will fold the institute into its secular Western HealthConnect arm. The system has committed to help the institute recruit leading researchers and continue its expansion.
The 15-year-old institute had been searching for clinical partners for three or four years when Providence initiated discussions about six months ago, said Hood, a 2011 recipient of the National Medal of Science.
Providence, which does not have its own academic medical center, has been building its research capabilities.
The system last year formed a similar alliance with the Seattle Science Foundation, which provides research, training and educational tools to medical professionals.