March events highlight personalized medicine at Penn State Hershey

Penn State College of Medicine is holding two public programs for the community to learn more about the promising field of personalized medicine. These evenings will feature discussions with Penn State Hershey physicians and scientists about the potential of tailoring health care to the individual, as well as information on participating in the Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine’s bio-bank research project.

Programs will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 5 at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Junker Auditorium and at 7 p.m. March 19 at Penn State Hershey Medical Group-Camp Hill.

The March 5 discussion is being held as part of the college’s Mini-Medical School program. The public is welcome to attend only the personalized medicine talk, which will feature Dr. Jim Broach, director of the institute; Dr. Glenn Gerhard, lead investigator of the institute’s bio-bank program; Dr. Walter Koltun, who will discuss implications for gastrointestinal disorders; and Dr. Xuemei Huang, who will discuss potential in Parkinson’s disease diagnosis and treatment.

The March 19 discussion will feature Broach and Gerhard. Light refreshments will be served.  

Personalized medicine is the use of individual characteristics to tailor treatments to the person. In the past, doctors based treatments on research that studied broad groups of people, finding what is most likely to help a majority of patients. While this approach has been successful, it’s not always efficient since each person is different, with unique genetics and biology. Treatments that work best for one person may not work best for another.

For example, one person may respond to a medicine differently than another because of their genetics. By knowing what that genetic difference is, doctors can look for the same in future patients and prescribe medication accordingly – helping patients to recover faster and, potentially, bringing down the cost of health care.

Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine gives scientists the tools to develop research studies seeking this information and future therapies for patients.

To register for either event, visit Registrants will receive a personalized medicine gift bag at the programs. Registration for March 5 at this link is only for the personalized medicine discussion and not for the entire Mini-Medical School program.

The Junker Auditorium is located on the ground floor of the Medical Center and is easily accessible from the North Lobby elevators. Visit to view, download or print a campus map.

Penn State Hershey Medical Group-Camp Hill is located at 3025 Market St., Entrance A, Camp Hill.

For more information, visit


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Last Updated January 16, 2014