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June 28, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University College of Medicine has introduced a novel course into its curriculum, one which focuses on health, wellness and preventive care, in addition to personalized treatment for patients. Ohio State is the first institution to implement such an integrated and innovative program, paving the way for lower healthcare costs and improved quality care and outcomes for patients.

Faculty of the P4 Scholars program, which commenced this summer, are training the next generation of physicians with emphasis on keeping individuals healthy and out of the hospital, a major shift to the tenant of the current healthcare model. P4 Medicine is individualized medical care that engages patient participation, predicts and prevents disease, facilitates health and creates a personalized life strategy wellness plan for each patient.

"The medical system of today emphasizes curative medicine. Our program shifts traditional medical training from sick care to the practice of well care," says Dr. Kandamurugu Manickam, a geneticist at Ohio State's Center for Personalized Health Care and director of the P4 Scholars program.

"Most importantly, we want students to think about how they would integrate the practice of P4 Medicine into their own future practices," he adds.

More than 20 students were selected from the medical school's class of 2014 to be the inaugural class of the seven-week program. Students are being exposed to the practice of P4 Medicine – predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory medicine. Coursework includes instruction on networks and complexity in health and disease, shared decision making with patients to get them more actively involved in their own healthcare, preventative medicine, changes to practice/knowledge, changing health behavior, the roles of physical activity and P4 Medicine, pharmacogenomics, bioethics in personalized medicine and bioinformatics.

"Rather than emphasizing and relying on genetics or genomics, the program incorporates behavioral health and current strategies being applied at Ohio State to show how P4 Medicine can and will be applied," Manickam says. 

According to Manickam, there are plans to expand the P4 Scholars program to other Ohio State colleges, such as pharmacy and nursing, and some of the concepts will be integrated into the new medical school curriculum beginning in 2012.

"Students will still get a thorough education in medical care, but it will be supplemented with a personalized approach to accelerate self-directed learning into the students' interests. Faculty development is also incorporated to better integrate teaching and care," adds Manickam.

In 2009, the overall cost of health care in the U.S. totaled $2.5 trillion, with 75 to 90 percent of these dollars spent managing and treating preventable chronic illnesses, also accounting for 17.3 percent of the American economy. The Institute of Medicine reports up to 98,000 preventable deaths per year.

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Contact: Sherri Kirk, College of Medicine Strategic Communications & Marketing, 614-366- 3277, or Sherri.Kirk@osumc.edu