Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Is precision public health the future — or a contradiction?

A man undergoes a nasal swab by a health care worker at a mobile COVID-19 testing site in Manhattan

A man has a nasal swab at a mobile COVID-19 testing site in Manhattan, New York City. Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times/Redux/eyevine

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Nature 601, 18-20 (2022)


Updates & Corrections

  • Correction 11 January 2022: An earlier version of this News feature gave an out-of-date affiliation for Caitlin Allen.


  1. Alfonso, Y. N., Leider, J. P., Resnick, B., McCullough, J. M. & Bishai, D. Health Aff. 40, 664–671 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Institute of Medicine. in The Future of Public Health Ch.3 (National Academies Press, 1988).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Myers, K. D. et al. Lancet Digit. Health 1, E393–E402 (2019).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Latash, J. et al. Morb. Mortal. Wkly Rep. 69, 815–819 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Greene, S. K., Peterson, E. R., Kapell, D., Fine, A. D. & Kulldorff, M. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 22, 1808–1812 (2016).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Greene, S. K. et al. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 7, e25538 (2021).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Ritchie, J. B. et al. Hered. Cancer Clin. Pract. 19, 31 (2021).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Nature Careers


  • Head of Virology

    The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and works on behalf of the S

    Addlestone, Surrey

    Animal and Plant Health Agency

  • Research Group Heads, BeiGene Institute

    A cross-disciplinary research organization where cutting-edge science and technology drive the discovery of impactful Insights

    Pudong New Area, Shanghai

    BeiGene Institute

  • Nanjing Forestry University is globally seeking Metasequoia Scholars and Metasequoia Talents

    Located in the eastern part of Nanjing, Nanjing Forestry University is a comprehensive university.

    Nanjing, Jiangsu (CN)

    Nanjing Forestry University (NFU)

  • ADME Lead, Bio-Island

    DMPK/PD representative in multi-functional expert teams for the evaluation of new chemical entities

    Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

    BeiGene Ltd.

  • Sr Investigator & Chief

    The NIEHS seeks a Sr Investigator to serve as Chief of the Ctr for Climate Change & Health Research.

    Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/NIH

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links