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Isabel Lemus Goyre is a new addition to the San Diego Blood Bank's team. Her experience runs from community relations to education, and that makes her a great fit for her new role—she works with the All of Us Research Program as an Events and Outreach Engagement Associate. That’s a long title, but it really means that Isabel is a point person in helping the community understand the importance of All of Us and precision medicine. We’re glad to have her expertise as she begins her work in this new role.
Can you tell us what your role is here at San Diego Blood Bank?
My role at SDBB is to educate people about the All of Us Research Program, a program that is part of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). The Precision Medicine Initiative is a very ambitious program that will provide researchers with new tools and knowledge to select which treatments will work best for which people. In other words, it will provide more precise health care treatments for each individual.
You mention the All of Us Research Program. Talk to us about why you’ve chosen to work in promoting this program. Why is it important, do you think?
I have a background in education. The All of Us Research Program, as mentioned before, is partially trying to educate people about this long-term program which will include one million or more volunteers from around the United States. All of Us refers to the variety of groups that form our society based on age, gender, race and ethnicity. The program is attempting to collect information that represents the country's diversity. And, of course, when you hear of a program that is inviting everyone and is trying to improve the future of health you just think, I want to take part in that!
From your perspective, how important is it to drive precision medicine forward? How is the All of Us Research program positioned to change healthcare?
People must understand that our genetics, lifestyles and environments are all different—we all may want healthcare treatments tailored to who we are as individuals. This is what the All of Us Research Program is trying to accomplish. The “one-size-fits-all-approach” in healthcare is only partially working. If we want everyone to have a voice in healthcare, we need to be part of research. That is what All of Us will do—invite people to have the opportunity to be seen and heard.
You’ve had an amazing journey to San Diego. Can you talk about how you got to San Diego? Where have you lived previously?
I am a native Cuban with a gypsy soul. More than 10 years ago I moved to Madrid where I studied management and marketing. I lived there for almost six years before deciding to move to the United States. I first landed in Phoenix, a place that still remains in my heart. I was there for three warm (and good) years. More than two years ago I relocated to San Diego, a lovely place that once in a while brings me memories of my homeland.
Tell us about someone who has influenced you in your life. Who are they and what did they teach you?
So many people! My parents, of course, are number one! My mom taught me discipline, to set high goals in my life, to study and keep studying. My father used to describe himself as a liberal in times when we were all supposed to have one thought, to go in the same direction. He always speaks up and fights for his beliefs. I appreciate both of them for showing me that there are different ways to approach one experience. Last but not least, all of those who have fought and still fight to make their dreams come true—politicians, business people and single moms. They always help me to move forward and to hold positive thoughts.