Michael Friend and Shakir Cannon, Founder and CoFounder, Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine

This article refers to a story recently published on Wired.com, which you can read here.

I first met Michael Friend and Shakir Cannon, co-founders of the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine, at a two-day meeting in 2016 at Harvard Medical School run by the excellent pgEd.

It was an intimate meeting of around 40 people. Michael was talking, and he immediately grabbed my attention. Within a minute of taking the podium, the energy level in the room had risen six notches. You see, he did a very un-British thing. He asked the audience – the entire audience – to engage verbally, and loudly.

Michael spoke passionately and eloquently about the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine. He covered perceptions of healthcare and genomics within the African American community in the US and in Baltimore, about being invited to the White House and his hopes for the Precision Medicine Initiative.

A Vision For Change

When I think of Michael and Shakir, I think of them as an example of two people who resolutely refuse to give up on their mission in the face of adversity. I also think about all the people for whom advances in genomics will be meaningless, unless we as a genomics community get this right. 

Their story, and that of the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine, has been covered on Wired. Check it out – it’s an important story that’s far from over – and it may just change your perspective about the end-goal for genomics.