Gift to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Establishes Harris Center for Precision Wellness
Center Will Develop Innovative Approaches to Health Monitoring and Wellness Management
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai today announced that Joshua Harris, co-Founder of Apollo Global Management, and his wife, Marjorie, have made a $5 million gift to establish the Harris Center for Precision Wellness. The center -- the first-of-its-kind at a major U.S. academic medical institution – is part of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology and will develop innovative approaches to health monitoring and wellness management by integrating emerging technologies in digital health, data science, and genomics to enable people’s health to be treated in precise, highly individualized ways. The center will provide a focus for a network of precision wellness research programs closely tied to clinical initiatives across the Mount Sinai Health System.
"I am honored to establish this new center to support groundbreaking research and innovation at the frontier of health and wellness,” Mr. Harris said. “It is an extraordinary opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. While access to powerful new digital and molecular tools to track and inform healthcare is growing, a science-driven approach is needed to integrate these new technologies into tools and applications that people can trust and use with confidence.”
“A number of research initiatives already underway at the Icahn Institute are focused on driving a greater understanding of health and wellness.” said Eric Schadt, PhD, the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Founding Director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology. “The new Harris Center will accelerate this momentum toward developing novel tools and approaches enabling precision wellness.”
The Harris Center’s immediate efforts will focus on digital health, molecular profiling, and data science. The Center is evaluating wearable devices to see how reliably they can measure activity, stress, sleep, cognitive functioning, mood, and environmental exposures and using sequencing technology to bring DNA, Microbiome, and immune system profiles into predictive models of wellness.
In addition, the Center is preparing to apply state-of-the-science analytics and machine learning to the wealth of individualized metrics to produce actionable, data-driven insights into key aspects of wellness, and to help lead the way to a nextgen healthcare that is scalable and far superior to anything now available.
The Harris Center will be directed by Joel Dudley, PhD, a highly regarded genomics and bioinformatics expert at the Icahn Institute, and by Gregory Stock, PhD, an accomplished life-science entrepreneur and technology-innovation expert recruited to serve as the Center’s co-director.
Dr. Dudley, known for his work in genomic medicine and translational bioinformatics, was recognized by Fast Company in 2014 as one of the world’s 100-most-creative people.
"We are deeply grateful to Mr. Harris for his generosity, vision, and passion,” said Dr. Dudley. “His gift will help realize the promise we see in new digital health technologies such as wearable sensors and mobile applications. By drawing upon the core competencies in genomics, multiscale biology, bioinformatics, data science, population health, and clinical trial design at the Icahn Institute, the Harris Center initiatives will further enhance Mount Sinai’s reputation as one of the world's premier innovators in personalized healthcare. It is exciting to have an opportunity to integrate and apply these emerging technologies in a meaningful and scientific way in the pursuit of optimal wellness, vitality, and preventive care.”
Prior to joining Mount Sinai, the Center’s co-director, Dr. Gregory Stock, was an influential voice at UCLA in national policy debates about the implications of emerging life-science technology. He recently led an industry effort to assay individualized genetic vulnerability to neurobehavioral deficits from chronic low-level exposure to mercury and other environmental toxins.
“It’s a real privilege to help catalyze the shift to predictive, proactive healthcare,” said Dr. Stock, a Research Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Science. “To realize the promise of nextgen digital healthcare now, a focused effort is essential. The timing for the center is perfect: key enabling technologies are arising on a broad front, and a shift to more precise and personalized approaches to wellness is taking shape. Wellness is much more than the absence of disease, and a big-data approach combining information from wearables, lab work-ups and omic panels to better characterize it should be very fruitful in enhancing our health.”
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.
The System includes approximately 6,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is nationally ranked as one of the top 25 hospitals in 8 specialties in the 2014-2015 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked nationally, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, and Mount Sinai Roosevelt are ranked regionally.
About the Harris Family Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Harris Family Charitable Foundation is to improve lives and strengthen communities through the transformative powers of sport and enhanced wellness. Its grantmaking is focused on opportunities for at-risk youth, health and wellness initiatives, and community-building programs. The Foundation’s results-oriented approach combines outcomes-based funding with targeted organizational support to amplify the impact of its contributions. The Foundation’s health and wellness portfolio supports medical research and technology integration that focuses on wellness and disease prevention to maximize individual vitality and guide individuals towards optimal health.