Rationale for the Unified Concept
Since minority/low SES are historically underrepresented in biomedical research (especially genetic and clinical research) precision health research may primarily benefit those who are studied. In addition, new precision health discoveries likely be of high cost (because of limited market for a given product) and may not be accessible to many. There is thus concerns that unless precision health research is conceived, designed and implemented broadly these exciting new discoveries may further widen existing health disparity in the US and globally.
Because of the massive and often passive (i.e., collected without active control by researchers or participants) nature of data from diverse sources there are major scientific and statistical methodological issues that precision health research needs to overcome. Many of the required methods and tools are not well-developed. Methodologists from medicine, public health, molecular and social sciences need to collaborate to develop and apply appropriate methods for meaningful precision health discovery and impact.
Integrating population and precision health concepts can help facilitate collaborations among diverse clinician, molecular and public health scientists, and the broader community and policy makers.
Population Health and Precision Health are two independently-conceived domains of biomedical research with increasing convergence and complementary methods and goals. Population health research broadly aims to study determinants of health events/outcomes and promote health at a population level, while precision health is an emerging area that aims to address and promote health by measuring and targeting specific characteristics and/or biomarkers of specific individuals or population sub-group.