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Making Personalized Medicine Understandable Education is Key As William D. Young, CEO of Monogram Bioscience, states in The Age of Personalized Medicine, (PharmaVOICE February 2007), honestly and clearly addressing the concerns of the stakeholders (drug makers, insurance companies, doctors, and patients) will be paramount if the promise of personalized medicine is to be realized. To accomplish this, healthcare communicators must help to increase society’s understanding of personalized medicine, and the promise and limitations it presents. Additionally, all organizations involved in medicine — from healthcare products and services companies to insurance companies and providers — must evolve their models of operating and relating to their stakeholders to thrive in a new reality where individual, prospective information will eliminate some of the guesswork and one-size-fits-all approaches to healthcare, and where transparency is not only appreciated but expected. A fundamental part of this evolution must be led by health communicators, who need to pave the way for a greater openness to, and understanding of, a host of critical and competing issues that personalized medicine will present to these various stakeholders. These include issues that either build or deteriorate trust, privacy of medical information and confidentiality, intellectual property, clinical trials, regulatory oversight, patient and physician education, and healthcare payer and physician incentives. We also need to help others in the health sector communicate more transparently and form strategies more collaboratively. Whether we’re two years or two decades away from readily available genetic therapies, communications professionals need to help educate people and organizations today about personalized medicine and the issues it is already inspiring. Nancy Turett Global President, Health Edelman Lynn Hanessian U.S. Managing Director, Health Edelman Whether we’re two years or two decades away from readily available genetic therapies, communications professionals need to help educate people and organizations today about personalized medicine and the issues it is already inspiring. — Nancy Turett Global President, Health, Edelman