About

National Advisory Board

The Precision Health National Advisory Board (PHNAB) will provide PH leadership impartial scientific and policy advice related to the strategic direction and investment priorities of the initiative, assist in the identification and evaluation of emerging trends, assist in peer review of U-M Precision Health projects, and assist initiative leadership in achieving its goals.

Members

James Becker

Jim Becker, MBA, serves as president, Optum Global Operations. Optum is one of two divisions of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a Fortune 5 organization. Prior to his current role, Becker served as chief operating officer, UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement. His other leadership roles at UnitedHealthcare have included executive vice president of operations, where he led Claim & Provider Services; senior vice president for Claim Operations; senior vice president of Broker & Employer Operations; and chief operating officer for UnitedHealthcare’s Individual line of business. Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare in 2005, Becker served in leadership roles at BellSouth Corporation for more than a decade. He began his career at IBM in sales, and later joined The Boston Consulting Group, where he advised companies on performance and strategic direction. Becker earned an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He also holds a BBA from the University of Michigan (U-M). Currently, Becker serves on the boards of Optum Services Ireland, Optum Global Solutions, India, Optum Global Solutions, Philippines, and XL Health, India. Previously, he served on the boards of UnitedHealthcare Insurance Corporation and Harken Health.

Vence Bonham

Vence L. Bonham, JD, is the senior advisor to the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) on genomics and health disparities at the National Institutes of Health. Bonham is also an associate investigator in the Social and Behavioral Research Branch at NHGRI. Before joining NHGRI, he was a tenured faculty member at Michigan State University with appointments in the College of Human Medicine and Law. At NHGRI, he leads the Health Disparities Genomics Unit, which conducts research that evaluates approaches to integrating new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings without exacerbating inequities in healthcare delivery. Bonham’s research focuses primarily on the social implications of new genomic knowledge, particularly in communities of color. He studies how genomics influences the use of the constructs of race and ethnicity in biomedical research and clinical care, and the role of genomics in exacerbating or ameliorating health inequities.

Rich Caruana

Rich Caruana, PhD, is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. Before joining Microsoft, Caruana was on the faculty in the Computer Science Department at Cornell University, at UCLA’s Medical School, and at CMU’s Center for Learning and Discovery. His PhD is from Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked with Tom Mitchell and Herb Simon.  His thesis on Multi-Task Learning helped create interest in a new subfield of machine learning called Transfer Learning. Caruana received an NSF CAREER Award in 2004 (for Meta Clustering), best paper awards in 2005 (with Alex Niculescu-Mizil), 2007 (with Daria Sorokina), and 2014 (with Todd Kulesza, Saleema Amershi, Danyel Fisher, and Denis Charles), co-chaired KDD in 2007 (with Xindong Wu), and serves as area chair for NIPS, ICML, and KDD.  His current research focus is on learning for medical decision making, transparent modeling, deep learning, and computational ecology.

Nancy Cox

Nancy Cox, PhD, is a quantitative human geneticist with a longstanding research program devoted to understanding the genetic component to common human diseases. She earned a BS in biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1978, a PhD in human genetics from Yale University in 1982, and did postdoctoral work at Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1987. She spent 28 years there before joining Vanderbilt in 2015 as the Mary Phillips Edmonds Gray Professor of Genetics, Director of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, and Director of the Division of Genetic Medicine. Much of the research in the Cox lab is focused on integrating genome variation 1) with genome function in analysis of data from BioVU, the biobank at Vanderbilt with more than 240,000 subjects with DNA samples, 2) with funded research in the Genotype Tissues Expression (GTEx) project since its inception, 3) in analysis of sequence data from NHGRI-funded Centers for Common Disease Genomics (CCDGs) (co-PI with Bingshan Li), and 4) in a Center of Excellence in Health Disparities on Precision Medicine and Population Health (co-PI with Consuelo Wilkins). Cox is the 2017 President of the American Society of Human Genetics and a past editor-in-chief for Genetic Epidemiology. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, a Landon Award co-winner from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2008, and winner of the International Genetic Epidemiology Leadership Award in 2010.

Xihong Lin

Xihong Lin, PhD, is a professor of biostatistics and coordinating director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and a professor of statistics at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University. She is the former chair of the Department of Biostatistics. Lin’s research interests lie in development and application of statistical and computational methods for analysis of massive genetic and genomic, observational study, and biomedical data. Lin is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. She received the 2002 Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the American Public Health Association, and the 2006 Presidents’ Award and the 2017 FN David Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS). She is an elected fellow of American Statistical Association (ASA), Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and International Statistical Institute. Lin received the MERIT Award (R37) (2007-2015) and the Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA) (R35) (2015-2022) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Lin is the former chair of the COPSS and a former member of the Committee of Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) of the National Academy of Science. She is the former chair of the new ASA Section of Statistical Genetics and Genomics. She is the former coordinating editor of Biometrics and the founding co-editor of Statistics in Biosciences.  She has served on a large number of committees of many statistical societies, and numerous NIH and NSF review panels.

Pearl O’Rourke

P. Pearl O’Rourke, MD, is the director of human research affairs at Partners HealthCare System, Inc., in Boston, MA, and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is responsible for the systems that support the regulatory and ethical oversight of human research and human embryonic stem cell research. O’Rourke’s career began as a pediatric critical care physician at Children’s Hospital Boston, and then at Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, as director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She did clinical research in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, liquid ventilation, high-frequency ventilation, and pediatric resuscitation. Following a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy fellowship working for Senator Edward Kennedy from 1997 to 2000, she was the deputy director of the Office of Science Policy in the Office of the Director at the NIH, where she worked on issues such as privacy, gene therapy (transfer) embryonic stem cells, and genetic discrimination. O’Rourke is the ex-chairman and a former member of PRIM&R’s Board of Directors, and she was a member of the AER18 Core Conference Planning Committee.

Babak Parviz

Babak Parviz, PhD, is a vice president at Amazon.com. He received his BA in Literature from the University of Washington, BS in Electronics from Sharif University of Technology, MS in Physics from U-M, and MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from U-M. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Prior to joining Amazon, he was with Google as a Google distinguished engineer and a director at Google [x]. He is the creator of Google Glass. He founded, built, and led the Glass program until 2013, founded the robotics surgery program , and co-founded the Smart Contact Lens program at Google. He co-invented the biosensing technology resulting in the founding of Claros Diagnostics Inc. His research, engineering, and development interests span novel computing and communication paradigms, high-tech with social impact, bionanotechnology, bioengineering, MEMS, nano-scale devices, and photonics. His work has been put on display at the London Museum of Science and has received numerous recognitions, including the National Science Foundation Career Award, MIT Technology Review 35, Time magazine’s best invention of the year (2008 and 2012), IEEE CAS Industrial Pioneer Award, Your Health Top 10 Medical advance of the year, and About.com top invention. He was selected by Ad Age as one of the 50 most creative people in the United States, and he received the University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award.

Bray Patrick-Lake

Bray Patrick-Lake, MFS, is director of Strategic Partnerships at Evidation Health, Inc. Previously, she was director of Stakeholder Engagement and the Research Together program lead at Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), where she supported efforts to facilitate partnerships between patients, health advocacy organizations, sponsors, and investigators to co-design a broad spectrum of industry-sponsored trials and federally funded research. She has led extensive efforts through the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative to incorporate patient voice into clinical trial design, conduct, oversight, and regulatory frameworks, as well as improvement of the clinical trial enterprise. Patrick-Lake has served as the DCRI Coordinating Center’s engagement lead for the Project Baseline study, serves on the All of Us National Advisory Panel, is a stakeholder advisor for the Digital Therapeutics Alliance and a member of the Scientific Leadership Board for the Digital Medicine Society, and recently served on the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee that developed recommendations and a framework for the Return of Individual Research Results.

Jonathan Skinner
Jonathan Skinner, PhD, is the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor in Economics at Dartmouth College and a professor at the Geisel School of Medicine’s Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Skinner’s research interests include the economics of government transfer programs, technology growth and disparities in health care, and the savings behavior of aging baby boomers. He is currently director of the Aging Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the IOM). He is a former associate editor of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, and a former editor of the Journal of Human Resources.  Skinner received his MA and PhD in Economics from UCLA, and a BA in political science and economics from the University of Rochester. He has also taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Washington, Stanford University, and Harvard University.

Marc Williams
Marc S. Williams, MD, FAAP, FACMG, FACMI, a clinical geneticist, is the director of Geisinger’s Genomic Medicine Institute, the co-PI of the Geisinger eMERGE project, and the medical director of the whole genome sequencing clinical research project. Williams is site PI and leads the EHR workgroup of the NHGRI-funded ClinGen project. He is on the NHGRI Genomic Medicine working group and has participated in the Personalized Medicine Workgroup of the Department of Health and Human Services’ American Health Information Community Task Force, and was a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Genetics, Health and Society. He is a member of the EGAPP working group.  He is a member of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) Board of Directors, serving as vice-president for Clinical Genetics, and rejoins the board as president-elect in 2019. Williams is past chair of the ACMG Committee on the Economics of Genetic Services and founded the ACMG Quality Improvement Special Interest Group. He recently joined the Scientific Advisory Boards of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Project, and Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man.

Areas of Expertise to be represented on the PHNAB may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bioethics
  • Computational Analysis/Data Science
  • Sensors/Wearables
  • Genetics/Genomics
  • Health Implementation
  • Health Policy
  • Disparities in Healthcare and Research/Underrepresented Groups
  • Finance and Healthcare Economics
  • Biotech Industry
  • Consumer Industry
  • Government

Roles and Responsibilities of PHNAB Members:

  • Identify, encourage, and support the exploration of new opportunities in precision health research and develop an understanding of the initiative within the broader healthcare environment.
  • Evaluate PH’s progress and provide insights from an external perspective on key issues identified by PH and other U-M leaders.
  • Facilitate public and private collaborations.
  • Enhance PH impact and visibility.
  • Encourage the development of a framework to enable sustainable growth.