After the Election: Thoughts on Outsourcing and Personalized Medicine

11/6/08

One largely non-technical issue I feel strongly about is President-elect Obama’s misguided pronouncements on outsourcing.

I think America needs to create new high-quality jobs and not resort to public policy to cling to jobs that can and will get done elsewhere. Preserving “old fashioned” jobs sounds quaint and romantic but would trap people in jobs that are no longer viable and delays the creative rethinking and reinvention of businesses. As President, Obama must lead Americans down the path of innovation and teach them how to overcome the hurdles that come up.

On a more technical note, I am delighted that Obama has championed genomic personalized medicine. I hope he will enlarge support for new research initiatives and IT infrastructure investments so we can do a better job of anticipating diseases, lowering the cost of drug discovery and extending the productive lives of our citizens.

Genetic information could become the basis for new forms of discrimination and get in the way of personalized medicine. I was delighted to learn in this context that President-elect Obama supported the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. I hope he uses the power of the Presidency to advance our study and practice of personalized medicine and helps America become the world leader in this domain.

Ramesh Rao is professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego, and director of the San Diego Division of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology. Follow @

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