Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have long championed the research and development of eradicating long term diseases. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was even a development from such goals, alongside the belief that every person should have the ability to advance their human potential, with the promotion of equal opportunity across the board.
Zuckerberg and Chan have consequently pledged a $10 million grant to the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), which will allow the university to build a new research and development facility, which will focus primarily on prevision medicine and the advancement of Big Data, in order to support the healthcare industry as a result of this increased digital focus.
The grant emphasizes the duo’s aim to advance digital tools to help support a growing health industry, which is now being viewed as a lucrative business for tech giants to move into. Apple, Facebook and Amazon are all reportedly working on developing health technologies at present.
Dr Atul Butte has also been named the the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor at UC San Francisco, and will be responsible for Computational Health Sciences and developing Electronic Health Records, in order to provide exceptional, personalised care.
Dr Butte is also looking into a research approach he has named “data recycling”, going against traditional clinic research methods by utilising existing data, which can support the development of future medicines and drive down costs. “This is among the richest and most diverse medical datasets in the world – much more than just a set of billing codes. Because the data come from our patients, the data are an incredible resource for UC hospitals to improve the quality of care we deliver throughout California”, he explained.
“We are enormously grateful to Priscilla and Mark for their visionary gift supporting the work of Atul Butte, one of the world’s leading physician-scientists working at the frontier of big data,” commented UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood. “His leadership of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences is helping UCSF researchers, health care providers and the UC Health system as a whole to drive progress in the new world of data-driven medicine and science. We expect this to transform health, at the level of individuals and communities.”