a his & hers weblog of worlds apart

“Personalized” Medicine

In the first couple of months of graduate school, I was filled with an insatiable need to create. I stayed up late into the night writing lyrics and tapping out melodies on my keyboard—something I haven’t done since I was a kid. Eventually, assignments, deadlines and exams took over my late night hours, but I remember thinking that there was something about the intensive scientific learning that was triggering synapses in part of my brain that I had neglected for years.


I was reminded of this while reading this article, about the connection between medicine and art. I am encouraged by the movement to bring humanities back into medical curriculum. This seems to be connected to Jay Parkinson, who is taking an innovative and creative approach to medical care.


In my opinion, genetic counseling has a leg-up on other medical professions in that the stated purpose is to attend to the human aspect of the medical experience. However, for such a cutting edge field, genetic counseling is surprisingly stagnant when it comes to innovation with respect to the counselor-patient interaction. As genetics becomes more mainstream, and personalized medicine becomes a reality, genetics professionals are charged with the challenge of coming up with new and innovative ways to provide the best care for their patients. In an attempt to do just that, Heather Shappell founded this  company, the first service to exclusively sell genetic counseling services. Other companies (for example) now offer genetic testing and genetic counseling services online. While such services are a huge step in the “innovative” direction, I anticipate that the best model will be realized when convenience and accessibility do not come at the expense of the creative human interaction between counselor and patient.

5 comments on ““Personalized” Medicine

  1. alliejanson
    October 28, 2008

    An interesting article in New York Times about the narrative genetics in medicine:


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This entry was posted on June 7, 2008 by in Her Nature Posts and tagged , , , , , .

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