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Personalizing Environmental Health: At the Intersection of Precision Medicine and Occupational Health in the Military

Bradburne, Christopher PhD; Lewis, John A. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 11 - p e209–e214
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001116
Original Articles

Recent efforts in precision medicine present unique opportunities for military environmental and occupational health. Risk assessments can be refined by individualized risk factors such as genomics, and health status can be monitored and informed using mobile health (mHealth) devices. The military currently monitors exposures with service-wide databases and has one of the world's largest biobanks of serum samples available for health surveillance. New approaches are being developed for risk assessment, novel exposure-based biomarkers, and mobile applications to combine the facile collection of exposure data with tracking and planning utility. Planning by military leaders and coordination with national efforts puts the Department of Defense (DoD) in a unique position to benefit both Service Members and the nation, as reviewed in a symposium cosponsored by the DoD and the Johns Hopkins University-Applied Physics Laboratory (October 27 to 28, 2015).

National Security Systems Biology Center, Asymmetric Operations Sector, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland (Dr Bradburne); McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Bradburne); and Environmental Health Program, US Army Center for Environmental Health Research, Frederick, Maryland (Dr Lewis).

Address correspondence to: John A. Lewis, PhD, US Army Center for Environmental Health Research, Frederick, MD 21702 (

CB was supported through NAVSEA task VOM01 (N00024-13-D-6400), provided by interservice funding from the US Army from the Defense Health Agency. JL was supported through the US Army Military Operational Medicine Research Program.

The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other official documentation.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest for this work.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine