Driving the precision medicine highway: Community health workers and patient navigators

Irma N. Ramos, Kristie N. Ramos, Kenneth S. Ramos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The general public is currently bombarded with direct-to-consumer advertising, real time "medical" guidance through the internet, access to digital devices that capture health information, and science-based adds that promote foods, cosmetics, and dietary supplements. Unfortunately, much of this information relies on terminology and concepts not well-understood by consumers, particularly those with lower levels of health and genomic literacy. Such constraints align with the limitations of the American public to obtain and process the basic medical information needed to make appropriate healthcare decisions. Low levels of health and genomic literacy render the American public ill-equipped to make informed decisions, use and interpret genomic information, or appreciate the benefits afforded by genomics-based technologies. We propose that coordinated expansion of the roles of community health workers and patient navigators within the precision medicine space can be effectively used to disseminate the knowledge required for the public to benefit from precision medicine advances in healthcare. A well-organized and trained community health worker and patient navigator workforce will provide a voice for the disadvantaged, especially among recent immigrants likely to be experiencing social isolation, language barriers, and economic deprivation. Armed with this knowledge, community health workers and patient navigators can advance the precision medicine agenda and empower disadvantaged communities to take advantage of major advances in the precision medicine era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

Keywords

  • Community health workers
  • Health literay
  • Patient navigators
  • Precision medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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