News : 2018 : February

On The Move: The HIHG Travels to New York

Researchers from the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics traveled to New York City to recruit patients for and spread awareness of the Puerto Rican Alzheimer’s Disease initiative. Funded by the National Institutes of Health in the summer of 2016, PRADI seeks to identify novel genetic variants in the Puerto Rican population, which has been underrepresented in genomic studies. The director of the HIHG, Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., has an abiding commitment to addressing health disparities in genomic medicine.

To ensure that PRADI would continue to progress after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, the HIHG visited New York as part of their efforts to expand the study to Puerto Rican populations within the United States. Researchers and clinical staff visited the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, located within the Carver Neighborhood Senior Center, and the Acacia Loisaida Cultural Center, the only Puerto Rican based innovation facility in New York.

Vanessa Rodriguez Perez, the clinical coordinator for PRADI, and Alejandra Rodriguez Betancourt, the field clinical coordinator working primarily out of Puerto Rico, both gave talks to potential patients on the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the Puerto Rican population and the importance of participation in genetic studies.

Thus far, the HIHG has made three successful trips to Puerto Rico to ascertain and educate patients. They have visited the cities of Aguadilla, Arecibo, Caguas, Carolina, Cayey, Cidra, Fajardo, Guaynabo, Manatí, Mayaguez, Ponce, and San Juan. Their next trip to Puerto Rico is scheduled for March of 2018.