Yamamoto to speak on future of health care



Keith Yamamoto is “perfect for starting the week,” said Sherra Babcock, vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education.

Week Nine at Chautauqua is themed “Health Care: From Bench to Bedside,” and Babcock said that Yamamoto’s wide range of expertise makes him a great fit to kick off the week, which focuses on innovation and patient-centered care.

Yamamoto holds multiple titles at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the vice chancellor for research, executive vice dean of the School of Medicine and a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology.

“He is known in the medical community as being the go-to person for personalized medicine,” Babcock said.

Yamamoto said he plans to discuss precision medicine during his lecture at 10:45 a.m. this morning in the Amphitheater.

For Yamamoto, it’s “a revolutionary concept that would collect, integrate and analyze comprehensive data across basic research and huge sets of human subjects, both healthy and diseased, creating an interactive network of knowledge that would reach toward precise diagnosis and treatment decisions for each individual, while at the same time empowering further research — advancing clinical care and informing the public at large.”

Really, Babcock said, it’s “the wave of the future” in medicine.

“The idea is that each of us is different, and we have to know the whole patient,” she said. “And by knowing the whole patient, we can treat any particular disease in a different or more effective way — each way being focused on the patient.”

This will be Yamamoto’s first visit to Chautauqua, but he said that he is excited to come and is looking forward to a “lively discussion.”

Babcock said that Yamamoto was recommended for a visit by Harvey Fineberg, “one of our favorite speakers from last year’s health care series.”

Yamamoto hopes his lecture will be a “fitting, provocative and intriguing way” to start the week’s lectures.

“Precision medicine would change dramatically the way that health is perceived and maintained, that health care is delivered and that life science research is pursued,” he said.

Yamamoto said he hopes that his lecture and question-and-answer session will leave attendees with a better understanding of what precision medicine has to offer, and that it “will require joint cooperative efforts across all stakeholder sectors: academia, government, industry and nonprofit agencies, and the public at large.”

Yamamoto said that precision medicine could lead to a number of benefits: more precisely tailored health care for individuals, earlier and more exact diagnoses, and avoidance of “unnecessary tests and ineffective therapies.”

“While the goals are challenging, the potential outcomes are compelling,” Yamamoto said.