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A new model, a new vision for health science

RENO, Nev. (February 21, 2016) – Six months after recruiting 10,000 residents to participate in a one-of-a-kind, community-based population health study, Nevada-based Renown Health, the Desert Research Institute, and the DRI Foundation have combined resources to realize a new model for health science.

Renown Institute for Health Innovation (IHI), a not-for-profit LLC, will build on the success of the population health and genetics project launched in September 2016 with leading personal genetics company, 23andMe.

“Renown Health is committed to improving the health of all Nevadans,” said Anthony Slonim, M.D., DrPH, president and CEO of Renown Health. “Partnering with a Nevada born, world-leading environmental research institute makes perfect sense. With DRI’s help, we can take on population health improvement through data science expertise and leading-edge environmental research.”

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Northern Nevada’s diverse healthcare catchment spans 100,000 square miles, an area the same size as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania combined; and serves almost one-million community members. These unique elements – the population, the comprehensive provider network, generational healthcare data and innovative combination of new research tools – make the region an ideal location for advanced health science.

“The key to better understanding health problems, and making the solutions scalable to people around the world, is to first harness the power of our own health data and understand the broad geographic, ethnic, cultural and socio-economic diversity of our unique community here in Nevada,” explained Dr. Christos Galanopoulos, MD, MBA, MSc, FACS, vice president and chief clinical officer of Renown Institute for Cancer, who will co-direct the IHI.

Initial participants in the Renown, DRI, and 23andMe study range from ages 18 to more than 90 years old and come from more than 135 zip codes throughout Renown’s service area. More than 80 percent of the participants have visited a Renown medical center prior to signing up.

The IHI science and medicine research team is now beginning to process and analyze the data from the study using 23andMe’s Genotyping Services for Research platform and in-house genetics and data analysis tools.

Beyond the study with 23andMe, IHI staff will work to integrate environmental data and socio-economic determinants to help Nevada solve some of its most complex environmental health problems.

“We’ve created a viable research and development pipeline in health data science, biotechnology and medical research,” said Joseph Grzymski, Ph.D. senior director of DRI’s Applied Innovation Center, who will also co-direct the IHI. “This is not only attracting global attention to Nevada, but also helping drive long-term sustainability and the promotion of health education and participation of community members. This is all possible thanks to the support and belief of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and investments from the State’s Knowledge Fund.”

The IHI will also focus on expanding the region’s access to leading-edge clinical trials and fostering new connections with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, Grzymski added.

More information on the collaboration is available at - www.partners.renown.org

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Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 6,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, skilled nursing, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition of being the first in the region to successfully perform leading-edge medical procedures. For more information, visit www.renown.org.

Desert Research Institute (DRI), the nonprofit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education, is a world leader in environmental sciences through the application of knowledge and technologies to improve people’s lives throughout Nevada and the world. Supported by Nevada’s Knowledge Fund, the DRI Applied Innovation Center (AIC) aims to aid and improve the new, knowledge-based economy in Nevada by integrating DRI’s core areas of expertise in hydrologic, atmospheric, earth and ecosystem sciences with data analysis and informatics, visualization, modeling and simulation. More information about DRI’s Applied Innovation Center is available at www.dri.edu.

Media Contacts:
Justin Broglio 
Communications Officer, Desert Research Institute
(775) 673-7610
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Stacy Kendall,
Director of Communications and New Media, Renown Health
(775) 691-7308
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