Making Precision Medicine Socially Precise

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
FDA White Oak Campus, Bldg. 2 Room 2013
Ann Anonsen
301 405 0285

Speaker: Esteban G. Burchard, MD, MPH

Professor, Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Science and Medicine

University of California, San Francisco 

Remote Access:


Dr. Burchard is a Physician Scientist with formal training and expertise in pulmonary medicine, epidemiology, molecular genetics, genetic and clinical research. He has led a large research program focusing on minority children and gene-environment interactions for asthma since 2001. Dr. Burchard serves as an advisor to the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. Congress on gene-environment interactions. Dr. Burchard has expertise in the field of precision medicine and served on the Expert Panel for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. He initiated and now directs four independent asthma studies in minority children. He has assembled a collaborative team of co-investigators on these projects with specific expertise in genetics, social and environmental epidemiology. Dr. Burchard’s team is taking a comprehensive approach to studying asthma in minority children by focusing on genetic, social and environmental risk factors with the goal of creating novel therapies and identifying targets for public health interventions. His laboratory recently completed the largest genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and admixture-mapping scans of asthma in minority children and total IgE in the United States. Dr. Burchard and his team published the largest air pollution and genome-wide study of asthma in minority children. Dr. Burchard’s research has been seminal in elucidating the pathogenesis of asthma and asthma related traits in minority populations.


Lecture Abstract:

Dr. Esteban Gonzalez Burchard and colleagues explore how making medical research more diverse would aid not only social justice but scientific quality and clinical effectiveness, too.

Summary Points

Health disparities persist across race/ethnicity for the majority of Healthy People 2010 health indicators.

Most physicians and scientists are informed by research extrapolated from a largely homogenous population, usually white and male.

A growing proportion of Americans are not fully benefiting from clinical and biomedical advances since racial and ethnic minorities make up nearly 40% of the United States population.

Ignoring the racial/ethnic diversity of the US population is a missed scientific opportunity to fully understand the factors that lead to disease or health.

US biomedical research and study populations must better reflect the country’s changing demographics. Adequate representation of diverse populations in scientific research is imperative as a matter of social justice, economics, and science.


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