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White House picks experts to shape plans for national research study

The National Institute of Health has tapped more than a dozen top doctors, researchers and business leaders to help steer President Obama’s $200 million plan to modernize the U.S. medical system, starting with a volunteer study of 1 million people.

The working group will be led by Dr. Kathy Hudson, an official within the NIH’s science and outreach office, Dr. Richard Lifton, who chairs the genetics department at the Yale University School of Medicine, and Bray Patrick-Lake, who leads a clinical trials initiative at Duke University.

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It will also include the CEO of the Gates Foundation and the director of life sciences for Google X, according to a release late Monday.

The NIH group will deliver its first report in September 2015 focusing on the White House’s goal of creating an unprecedented 1 million person volunteer study.

“Establishing a 1 million person cohort is an audacious endeavor,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins wrote in a statement. “But the results from studying such a large group of Americans will build the scientific evidence necessary for moving precision medicine from concept to reality.”

The national participant study is the biggest piece of the White House plan, dubbed the precision medicine initiative. Federal health officials have hailed the idea as an unprecedented study into the American population’s biology, environment, lifestyle and behavior.

“I’m confident that we’ve pulled together the best of the best in this working group to put us on the right path forward,” Collins added.