Precision medicine is personalized medicine

Mom lifting laughing baby up in air Traditional medical treatments have been designed as a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But while these treatments can be effective for some patients, they may not be for others. Precision medicine takes into account individual differences in genes, environments and lifestyles. In this way, doctors can select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a more complete picture and understanding of their disease or ailment.

Precision medicine focuses on targeted, personalized care using big data. The objective of precision medicine is to make diagnosis of disease or illness, treatment therapies, and prevention more personalized, proactive, predictive and precise.

In a 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced a Precision Medicine Initiative to revolutionize how we improve health and research and treat disease. The initiative defines precision medicine as "an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person."

Precision medicine brings together innovations in fields such as genomics, metabolomics, biomedical data sciences and environmental sciences. It utilizes technologies such as mobile health, imaging, big data, artificial intelligence, social engagement and networking.

Using big data tools, data sets are developed that can lead to preventive treatment plans for individuals and communities. These data sets can help predict risk to wellness, risk to progression (prognosis) and response or resistance to therapy.

Precision medicine is the intersection between people, their environment, changes in their markers of health and illness and social and behavioral factors over time. Precision medicine looks at factors that make up individuals and populations and how these factors change and interact over time.

The UC Davis Precision Medicine Model

The UC Davis precision medicine model is a venn diagram made up of the person(s), markers, exposome and behavioral health.

The UC Davis Precision Medicine Model

At its core, precision medicine is the intersection between people, their environment, the changes in their markers of health and illness, and their social and behavioral factors over time.

At UC Davis, we have developed a unique model highlighting the various domains to understand the people we serve:

Person(s) - These are the people we serve, the patients, the population. We look at factors which include gender, age, and demographic data from our electronic health record.

Markers - We focus on the scientific markers of health and illness. These can include the genetics, genomics, metabolomics, phenomics, pharmacogenomics, and other –omic platforms.

Exposome - We focus on the exposures or environmental influences on persons and populations. We look at the internal environment (the microbiome; the gut/brain interaction) and the external environment (zip codes; socio-economic factors; agriculture, food quality and diet).

Behavioral Health - We focus on behavioral issues, which can affect individuals and populations. These can include factors like exercise, self-care, addiction, anxiety, and numerous life choices.

Our goal is to unite our breadth of expertise to make individual and population health more proactive, predictive, precise, and personalized to empower individuals and communities as partners in their own wellness, and to train the next generation of data-fluent and multi-disciplinary health professionals.



Precision Nutrition

Young girl eating watermelon slicePoor diet is a leading cause of mortality in the United States, and heart disease, stroke and diabetes alone account for more than $600 billion in health care spending and lost productivity. There is an urgency to address the poor health outcomes and associated costs of diet-related chronic disease, with interventions that provide, prescribe, or educate patients regarding healthy and medically appropriate diets.


Improving diet and access to healthy foods