Geisinger launches national initiative, appoints director

DANVILLE — As part of a strategy to expand its health program on a national level, Geisinger has launched the Geisinger National Precision Health Initiative and appointed Huntington F. Willard, as its first director.

The new initiative, based in the Washington, D.C., area, will use the MyCode Community Health Initiative and electronic health data integration at Geisinger.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Geisinger family. I know of no other health system with such dedication to putting patients and their health first,” Willard said. “I look forward to launching new programs committed to broadening Geisinger’s impact in precision health on a national scale.”

Willard is an internationally recognized leader in human genetics and genomics. He is a former president of the American Society of Human Genetics, founding director of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and the 15th president of the Marine Biological Laboratory.

An elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, Willard will be professor of precision health and associate chief scientific officer at Geisinger, as well as director of the Geisinger National Precision Health Initiative. He has been chairman of the Geisinger Scientific Advisory Board since 2011 and was an influential part of the most recent Geisinger strategic plan released in 2014. He will join Geisinger in January.