The mission of UC Davis Health is to make our community and our world better and healthier. This issue of the UC Davis Health Magazine provides a look at three very different ways we take this mission outside the hospital and clinic walls in groundbreaking ways.
One is a story showing how the MIND Institute, the nation’s most-funded autism program, is sharing its expertise across the globe; another is a reminder of the value of bringing the globe’s most popular sport to our community; and the third is a look at how we’re helping shape the policies and therapies connected to precision medicine, which integrates data ranging from patient zip codes to their genetic codes to provide better and more focused treatments. These efforts are examples of how we weave together our clinical care, education and research missions to help our community and provide world-class patient care
The MIND Institute has been a global beacon of research, therapy and hope for people with neurodevelopmental disabilities for two decades. Randi Hagerman is one of the reasons. She’s an internationally recognized clinician and researcher working on fragile X syndrome, and she’s shared her expertise in 20 countries, helping them develop infrastructure and best practices for diagnosis, treatment and family support. She was part of a group from the MIND that traveled recently to a historic hotel in the center of Belgrade to address an international conference on fragile X. It was organized by a Serbian physician and researcher who had trained under Hagerman here at UC Davis, and who is now educating doctors in Eastern Europe.
MIND experts also helped Serbian families and their children dealing with fragile X. As the story shows, for some of the families, those meetings had once seemed as unlikely as meeting Julia Roberts. This exemplifies the continuing evolution of health at UC Davis. Leveraging our great physicians, we’re reaching out to patients and training providers where they live, whether it’s in the Central Valley, rural Northern California or Eastern Europe.
Another story details a different kind of pioneering effort to help patients. UC Davis Health has been an early adopter and pioneer in precision medicine for cancer care, and is now home to growing portfolios in precision medicine research and policy leadership. Our Center for Precision Medicine, led by Fred Meyers, is both helping California develop full policies on precision medicine and creating new capabilities and treatments in areas that range from combat medicine to everyday nutrition.
Precision medicine uses large amounts of data to account for small differences in individuals or groups, including the variability in genes, environment and lifestyle of each person. This helps doctors and researchers more accurately predict the treatments and prevention strategies that are best for each patient. This, too, is an evolution of medicine that UC Davis is uniquely positioned to lead. We have an extraordinary depth of national and global leading disciplines, including medicine, agriculture, veterinary medicine, engineering, biomedical engineering, genome editing and stem cell research, all of which help facilitate our work in precision medicine.
Then there is one of this year’s feel good stories: The announcement that Sacramento Republic FC will soon be joining Major League Soccer. We have a long-running partnership with Sac Republic that’s benefitted our community, our neighborhoods and our youth. Together, we’re promoting the benefits of physical activity, fostering health education for children and highlighting the joy of playing sports, which includes bringing street soccer to the urban core areas in our backyard.
Physical activity, sports, and simple play have substantial health and wellness benefits for children and adults. Conveying the value of these and enabling more physical activities throughout our region, especially in our urban core where it can be difficult to find a place to play, are important components of our care for our community. That’s one reason the UC Davis Health name is on the UC Davis football stadium. We want everyone to understand our goal to help keep people active through their lifetimes — from inner-city youth, to college athletes, students and faculty, and residents of Davis, Sacramento and Northern California.
Providing great care is at once global, local and as intricate as our genomes. These examples illustrate a few of the ways UC Davis Health is moving health care and wellness into the future and continually expanding the world-class care we offer our patients.