In a recent interview, I spoke with Anthony Johnson, President and CEO of Kodikaz Therapeutic Solutions, Inc. Mr. Johnson has over 20 years of experience in the fields of genetics and healthcare. Outside of his CEO role, he is currently a consultant to the PeopleSeq Consortium study at Harvard University.
Mr. Johnson discussed his work with the Consortium, the Consortium’s emphasis on African American participation in the PeopleSeq study and the role of DNA sequencing and genetics in medicine, along with a multitude of other interesting medical topics.
EURweb: “What is DNA sequencing and why do you think it is beneficial to people’s health?”
Anthony Johnson: “It’s looking at the basis for everyone’s genetic makeup and I think that’s important because what it means is that you’re born with your DNA and that has a determining factor in terms of a variety of characteristics, everything from your hair and eye color to also your potential to develop cancers, arthritis, and many other chronic diseases. So, getting involved in sequencing is about taking control of your health.”
EURweb: Why does the PeopleSeq Consortium place an emphasis on African American participation in its study and why should African Americans place trust in them when the healthcare industry in the past has used them as guinea pigs for experiments?
Anthony Johnson: “Things like the PeopleSeq project and the National Institutes of Health realize that underrepresented minorities are done a disservice by not getting access to a lot of healthcare and there is definitely bias within healthcare. So there are twofold ways that we try to address that. One is that we have a more transparent dialogue process from everything to what diseases we are researching, to how are we conducting these clinical trials… to most importantly, identifying who are the ones doing the research that benefit on the backend.”
Mr. Johnson agreed that distrust exists in the African American community towards the health industry, but promoted the positive attributes of modern medical studies.
Anthony Johnson continued: “I think what we’re trying to do with PeopleSeq is sequence the genomes of normal people to understand how they interact with disease, and frankly, what diseases they may develop in the future. A lot of underrepresented minorities do not have access to healthcare and [so] a lot of the therapies being developed are going to be developed based on one genetic makeup. It’s crucial for us to get involved in these studies.”
Click here for the full interview.
To learn more about the PeopleSeq Consortium and its study including DNA Sequencing, visit www.genomes2people.org/. If you are interested in gene therapy and further developments, go to www.kodikaz.com. If you’d like to learn more about Anthony Johnson’s documentary entitled “Our Genomes Project” contact him at Kodikaz Therapeutic Solutions.
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David Anthony is a new graduate of Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. A self-designated history buff and random fact finder, David could rattle your ear for hours with information. Born and raised in the City of Angels he is a huge fan of the city’s culture and hometown NBA team, the L.A. Clippers. A future attorney, businessman, and civil servant, he hopes to be an impactful individual in life. Contact David: [email protected]