Everyone has a Phenome

Betsy Barry and Simon Evans

What if we were all born with our own personal instruction manual that showed us how to live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life? What if that “how-to” set of instructions was a dynamic reference that changed as we changed, allowing us to navigate our personal journey to life-long wellness?

The phenome is just such an individualized primer, containing a wealth of information and knowledge that reflects and informs our health, our wellbeing, our healthy aging and our lives.

Specifically, our phenome is a product of three things: (1) our genes that we inherit from our parents, (2) our behavior—like the foods we decide to eat, the amount of exercise we decide to get and how much attention we pay to getting restful sleep etc—and (3) our environment, which can be pollution we are exposed to, viruses we come in contact with, the availability of quality food in our neighborhoods, our ability to safely get outside and exercise, our access to quality healthcare—and a number of other things. All of these things combine together to make each of us unique.

What’s more, our phenome is dynamic and ever-changing—it represents the state of us at any point in time, integrating our unique genome, behaviors, and environment. Our phenome is one of our most valuable dimensions of health, which allows us to assess our personal wellness as well as potential disease trajectories in our future. 

In short, by harnessing the information in our phenome, we’re empowered to take control of our own health. 

Our phenome gives us the power to predict what we need to do on our journey to optimal wellness by considering everything that makes us human—from our single cells to our physical environments. Our phenome affords us valuable health insights and teaches us the tools of prevention to avoid disease and illness, ensuring that our future is full of health and prosperity. It gives you and your healthcare providers the data you need to make informed decisions about your health—not standardized treatments or advice, but personalized, tailored wellness support for everyone.

There's a saying: what gets measured, gets managed. By measuring our individual phenomes—including thousands of blood components, the gut microbiome, personal health measurements (physical activity, heart rate, etc), cognitive assessments, diets, and more—we are participating in a vision of the future of healthcare. This future is one that focuses on a systematic approach to optimal wellness rather than just disease-focused treatments and therapies. Only recently have we developed the technology to do this–the time to act is now.

Phenome is me, it’s you, it’s us. Together, we will create an equitable, personalized model of healthcare that represents the future of the field, because the future of healthcare is not just treating disease and illness, but giving us the power to chart a course that circumvents disease and illness altogether. The future of healthcare is wellness. 

For a more detailed discussion on “What is a Phenome” and why it is the future of health and wellness, watch Dr. Lee Hood explain the concept and more in this video:


Phenome Health is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to delivering health innovation and enacting social change
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