Washington State University is making a big bet on personalized medicine.
The school announced this week that it is teaming up with Arivale, a Seattle-based startup founded by genomics pioneer Lee Hood, to give the inaugural class of its new college of medicine access to Arivale’s personalized scientific wellness program.
Arivale uses genetic tests and masses of other biological data to help its customers manage their health through its program. That could mean anything from advising special diets or particular kinds of exercise to helping customers manage conditions like type 2 diabetes or obesity.
It’s part of a movement spearheaded by Hood and called scientific wellness, which focuses on keeping people healthy throughout their lives instead of just treating disease when it pops up.
Starting this fall, WSU will pay for 60 students and some staff and faculty at its Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to participate in the program, which generally costs $3,499 for a participant’s first year. The experience will be paired with a curriculum about scientific wellness, so the students can learn about the field first-hand and in the classroom.
Their Arivale experience will focus on six areas: diabetes risk, heart health, healthy aging, inflammation, optimal nutrition and stress management.
“Our overarching goal is to be at the forefront of the transformation that is taking place in health care — and as a newly established medical school, we are uniquely positioned to explore new frontiers in biology and medicine,” Dr. John Tomkowiak, the school’s founding dean, said in a statement. “We have a deep commitment to improving health and wellness through personalized medicine and we are creating a medical school that will prepare our students for the rapidly changing health care landscape.”
Arivale was founded by Hood and the company’s current CEO, Clayton Lewis, in 2015. The company has grown quickly, and now employs 165 at its headquarters, with 3,800 companies and individuals enrolled in the Arivale program. It unveiled a new program focused specifically on weight loss earlier this year.
“Arivale is proud to collaborate with WSU on the first-of- its-kind program, designed to leverage systems medicine, big data and behavioral science to transform medical education and the entire health care landscape,” Hood said in a statement.
[Editor’s Note: GeekWire’s chief business officer, Daniel Rossi, is taking part in Arivale’s general wellness program to help manage his Type 2 diabetes and related health concerns. GeekWire is paying for the program as part of an independent review of Arivale, and Daniel’s experience is being documented in this special series.]