Prepped for Radical Change

by Lauren Schultz Lauren Schultz No Comments


Dr. Grace Terrell’s record redesigning health care models landed her in a position to use human genomics to radically transform health care.

When Grace Terrell, M.D., first visited Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in 2011, she was instantly sold on its mission and the work being done there. Five years later, when HudsonAlpha Founder Jim Hudson called to ask Terrell to head up Envision Genomics, a HudsonAlpha company, she couldn’t wait to get to Alabama. Terrell took the reins as CEO of Envision Genomics in April 2017 and hasn’t looked back since.

“When I received a call from Jim Hudson asking me to come to Huntsville and be part of a company on the cutting edge of the effort to apply human genomics to radically change clinical health care, I didn’t hesitate,” Terrell says. “Alabama has built upon the infrastructure present here from the aerospace industry to create an entirely new ecosystem of engineers, biotechnologists, software developers and research scientists focused on genomics. The Cummings Research Park is truly a treasure. You can feel the energy in the community of Huntsville. It’s awesome.”

Terrell grew up on a farm in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, near a town called Siler City, “one of the real small towns mentioned on the old Andy Griffith Show from the 1960s,” she says. With a grandfather who was actually the local sheriff, the show rang true to life for her family.

Her Mayberry-like upbringing gave Terrell a firm foundation from which to launch a long career in transformative health care — and the Southern roots to feel at home in Huntsville, where cutting-edge research sometimes happens with a view of cotton fields still thriving outside the windows.

Terrell earned her medical degree at Duke University and completed a residency at North Carolina Baptist Hospital and has been practicing medicine as a general internist for more than 20 years. She also holds a master’s degree in medical management from Carnegie Mellon University.

In 1995, as a North Carolina physician in private practice, Terrell helped found Cornerstone Health Care, a multi-specialty group of 42 physicians. The group was nationally recognized for its work in redesigning care models for patients with complex medical problems such as cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease and frailty. Terrell served as Cornerstone’s CEO for 16 years while it grew to 275 physicians.

When other physician groups became increasingly interested in making a similar shift toward value-based medicine, the company launched Cornerstone Health Enablement Strategic Solutions (CHESS) in 1995. Terrell also served as CEO for the new company.

“CHESS was focused on integrating these new models of care with payment models and integrated information systems that allowed us to lower the cost of care by 20 percent while greatly improving the outcomes for these complex patients with respect to quality and medical impact,” Terrell says.

In addition to her clinical work, Terrell has been involved with health care information system technology policy at the national level. She serves as one of the commissioners of the Physician Focused Technical Advisory Committee, looking at innovations in care model and payment model design. “What I’ve learned about myself through the years is that I like building companies that do good while doing well,” she says. “I believe there are solutions for many of the problems imbedded in our current dysfunctional health care system that can be built by first focusing on the unmet needs of complex patients and then designing solutions that more effectively meet those needs.”

When she first visited HudsonAlpha in 2011, Terrell was one of eight individuals invited to the campus as part of an Oliver Wyman Health Innovation initiative. The group was focused on mapping out the future of health care over the next 20 years in game-changing ways. The experience impressed her.

“Although my work at the time was focused on redesigning models of care in the more traditional aspects of the health care delivery system, I marveled at the work being done at HudsonAlpha,” Terrell says. “It was focused on applying the technologies of human genomics to radically transform health care from a system focused on reactive medicine to one redesigned around the science of prevention.”

Hudson kept Terrell on his radar, and when Envision Genomics needed a leader, she came to mind. “Dr. Terrell’s experience in improving population health, redesigning patient care models and clinical integration are a great fit for the Envision Genomics model,” says Hudson, who serves as chairman of the board for Envision. “Envision Genomics is dedicated to transforming disease care to true health care through genomics. Dr. Terrell’s expertise will help get us there.”

Founded in 2015, Envision Genomics focuses on whole-genome sequencing in clinical testing for rare diseases, undiagnosed disorders and hereditary cancers, with the goal of reducing multiple point-of-care tests. It is one of about 27 companies associated with HudsonAlpha.

When patients have their genome sequenced in a test as simple as drawing blood, doctors can survey their entire DNA to provide more complete, accurate diagnoses and treatment options. Each genome sequence examines 6 billion base pairs of a person’s genome. Envision aims to help make genome sequencing available to physicians across the country.

“Envision Genomics will deliver solutions for patients who have the most wicked health care problems: those with rare, undiagnosed and misdiagnosed diseases,” Terrell says.

“One in 10 Americans fits in that category, but the current health care delivery system is poorly equipped to meet their needs. Now, with the insights that can be provided from whole genome sequencing technologies, the diagnostic odyssey these patients and their families face can be eliminated and new models of care can be developed to improve their care. Insights from the sequencing technologies will exponentially accelerate therapies for these patients and will ultimately do the same for more common diseases we all face.”

Currently, the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine, located on the HudsonAlpha campus, sees patients with undiagnosed and misdiagnosed diseases and uses genomic testing for diagnostics. In addition, the Insight Genome project at HudsonAlpha offers genome sequencing for healthy patients who want that information to help them guide healthcare and medication decisions.

Envision works closely with both the Smith Family Clinic and Insight Genome, but the company’s main focus is on scaling the technology used in Huntsville to be used in hospitals across the country. For starters, the company is working to develop partnerships with children’s hospitals across the country to offer genome sequencing for children with rare or undiagnosed conditions. With the capabilities of HudsonAlpha, Envision has the capacity to sequence 15,000 clinical genomes per year.

“What’s happening here in Huntsville is world-class, state-of-the-art work that’s going to change medicine,” Terrell says.

Nancy Mann Jackson and Dennis Keim are freelance contributors to Business Alabama. Both are based in Huntsville

RowAnalytics, Martinos Center & Envision Genomics Create GIRO Health

by Lauren Schultz Lauren Schultz No Comments

RowAnalytics, Martinos Center & Envision Genomics
Create GIRO Health, a new Flagship Open Initiative in Precision Medicine

Oxford, UK, Cambridge, MA and Huntsville, AL – 7th December 2017 08:00 EST

SUMMARY: This is a first in precision medicine. This group aims to be the first to analyze brain scans together with genomic + clinical + phenotypic data to study neurodegenerative diseases at a population level then distill it down to an individual’s personal treatment plan. GIRO Health (IBM, RowAnalytics, Martinos Center & Envision Genomics) is an open initiative designed to bring together the best and the brightest to solve complex diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and more.


RowAnalytics Ltd., the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (Martinos Center) and Envision Genomics Inc. today announced that they are combining their world leading technologies and expertise with IBM Power servers, to create a new, open initiative in precision medicine, GIRO Health. This initiative will accelerate understanding of the biology of complex neurological and neurodegenerative diseases to improve diagnosis and personalized treatment options. The collective science, technology and clinical know-how behind GIRO Health brings a first-ever combination of clinical genomics, multi-modal imaging and massively combinatorial data analytics to precision medicine with enormous potential to provide new insights for therapeutic R&D, and more accurate diagnosis and selection of patient therapies.


To date, analysis of complex diseases has been limited by analytical technologies that work on single dimensions of data. However, neurological diseases are complex and multifactorial, with combinations of genetic, phenotypic, clinical and environmental factors playing a role in a patient’s personal disease risk, resulting in different clinical outcomes and therapy responses for patients with the same disease. Characterizing this complex disease biology and identifying the most effective treatments for the patient requires integration of all the latest advances in clinical genomics, biomedical imaging, data analytics and AI technologies into a coherent, scalable and patient focused precision medicine capability.


“GIRO Health will bring together, for the first time, all the components needed to deliver the benefits of precision medicine at scale for complex diseases.” said Steve Gardner, CEO of RowAnalytics. “The strategic integration of the founding partners’ world-leading technologies and their ground-breaking analytical capabilities enables GIRO Health to accelerate and scale the application of precision medicine in neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.”


Research foundations, disease specialists and clinical researchers are invited to collaborate in a collective effort to investigate the underlying mechanisms of action, critical pathways and patient care options to aid those diagnosed with diseases including, but not limited to, ALS, MS, Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Tuberous Sclerosis and Epilepsy.


Bill Shaw, Executive Director of the Martinos Center, adds, “We are excited to be integrating state-of-the-art biomedical imaging, genomics, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies in the pursuit of better therapeutic options for patients with complex, multi-factorial neurological diseases.”


GIRO Health will radically transform the scale, speed and accuracy of precision medicine research, and empower and ultimately deliver better health outcomes for patients. It will deliver an end-to-end precision medicine capability, researching new disease diagnostics and therapies, developing patient stratification and clinical decision support systems, and building personalized, patient focused tools that enable them to change aspects of their lifestyle and take more control of their own health.


“The complexity of this challenge requires a multi-disciplinary team with complementary technologies and an unwavering focus on the patient and their needs,” said Grace Terrell, CEO of Envision. “The partners bring together world-class genomic data analysis and clinical interpretation, high-performance computing and storage, digital health tools and experience of redesigning patient-focused healthcare models.”


The reference architecture for GIRO Health will be built on IBM’s current and future Power Systems, which will provide the outstanding performance, GPU acceleration and scaling required to generate faster insights and better patient outcomes. “IBM has been privileged to work with this team. We believe that IBM’s high-performance compute, parallel file system and resources schedulers provide the foundational architecture needed to build a truly scalable platform,” said Janis Landry-Lane, Global Sales, IBM Systems. Bruce Jones, IBM Technology Evangelist adds, “Precision Medicine is critical for the future of medicine, and this collaborative initiative with GIRO Health will have a huge impact in both the clinic and personal management of disease.”


GIRO Health will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2017, and will be based initially at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston


About RowAnalytics

RowAnalytics is an A.I. solutions company innovating analytics to solve grand challenges in health, food and smart living. Our precisionLIFE platform powers massive disease population studies to identify novel associations of multiple genomic, phenotypic and clinical factors in parallel to assess  disease risk and predict therapeutic response. Our platform is a remarkable new capability in precision medicine with unprecedented scale and speed to identify biomarkers, find new purposes for existing drugs and to identify those patients most likely to respond to treatment. RowAnalytics’ solutions provide personalization at the scale required to deliver next generation precision medicine, digital health and smart IoT solutions. Headquartered in Oxford, UK, with offices in Copenhagen, DK, Warsaw, PL and Cambridge, MA, RowAnalytics was founded by a diverse team of highly experienced life science, healthcare, A.I. and computer science leaders. To learn more, visit


About Martinos Center

The Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging is one of the world’s premier research centers devoted to development and application of advanced biomedical imaging technologies. Major areas of technology development are magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, optical imaging and other imaging modalities.  Major areas of application research include psychiatric, neurologic & neurovascular disorders, cognitive neuroscience, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The Martinos Center was established in 2000 by the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology (HST) and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  It has around 120 faculty members and more than 100 postdoctoral research fellows and graduate students.

To learn more, visit


About Envision Genomics

Envision Genomics is a clinical genomics services platform headquartered in Huntsville, AL. delivering end-to-end precision medicine to the undiagnosed, rare disease patient population. The Company brings comprehensive genetic testing services (whole genome and whole exome sequencing), big data analytics, patient intake processes, and whole-person care models to the medically expensive and complex-to-manage, rare or undiagnosed disease patient population in partnership with health systems, physicians, and payers. Envision is building a network of children’s hospitals and empowering them to practice genomic medicine by providing the end-to-end expertise, infrastructure and resources necessary to implement and deploy clinical genomics.

To learn more, visit

About IBM

IBM Power Systems are servers designed for mission-critical applications and emerging Cognitive Era workloads including artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, advanced analytics and high performance computing.  Designed to deliver efficiency whether deployed in a private, public and hybrid cloud, Power Systems benefit from a wide range of open technologies, many stemming from collaboration with fellow OpenPOWER Foundation members.

To learn more visit:


Contact Information:


RowAnalytics Ltd – Loralyn Mears, +1 804-539-2324,

Martinos Center – Bill Shaw, +1 617-643-3724,

Envision Genomics – Aaron Fisher, +1 256-327-0535,

Dr. Grace Terrell in the GuideWell Insights Lounge

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Dr. Grace Terrell in the GuideWell Insights Lounge At the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit 2017

Envision Genomics CEO, Dr. Grace Terrell, sits down with Kate Warnock of GuideWell at the 2017 Oliver Wyman Healthcare Innovation Summit, GuideWell Insights Lounge, to discuss precision medicine and team-based care. See the interview here:

The Third Wave: How Genomic Medicine Will Accelerate the Move to Value

by dparker dparker No Comments

In 2011, I was fortunate to participate with a group of a dozen highly talented individuals in the health care industry thinking about health care innovation and transformation as part of what ultimately became the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Center. Our first meeting was held at the Hudson-Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL where cutting-edge research was being done to translate the science of genomics into practical applications in biotechnology, life science, and health care. The mission of Hudson-Alpha is to provide an environment for research and business development through genomic technologies. During my visit, I saw companies such as Diatherix, which was focused on making highly accurate bacterial diagnoses in emergency departments and Kailos, which was working on genetic tests predicting responses to drugs. Companies such as these at Hudson-Alpha were positioned to guide medical care with a degree of precision and speed far greater than the current health care delivery system could provide. But those of us sitting around the table that week, were thinking in broader terms: how could our inefficient health care system be transformed over the next fifteen years to one that was far better in cost, quality, and convenience than the status quo?

In that dialogue six years ago, we began to use the concept of moving from “volume to value” and thought about the journey as essentially taking place in three waves. The first wave is the move to patient-centered care. The physician-centered health care delivery system of 2010 would be transformed by 2016 into patient-focused care with convenient 24/7 access and evidence-based standards managed by care teams. Although this part of the journey has not been a cakewalk, the acceleration of the adaption of patient-centered medical homes, convenience care retail clinics, and quality-based pay-for-performance standards throughout the payment system indicates an implicit acceptance of these tenants of patient-centered care on the part of the health care industry.

We believed the second wave would be focused on consumer engagement. We discussed a refocus of patient-care, from a system in which uninformed, limitedly engaged patients interact with a health care system built on bricks and mortar and office hours to one that would be an environment reengineered for informed, shared decision-making by socially connected, highly empowered consumers with access to just-in-time sources of health care services empowered by mobile devices and social platforms. The crest of this second wave would be from 2014-2020 as the technology necessary for consumer engagement was developed and introduced into the health care delivery ecosystem and allowed to mature to meet the ecosystem’s needs. What we are currently seeing with devices such as Kardia, that turn my smart-phone into a very accurate EKG machine, iTriage, that can help direct symptomatic patients to the most appropriate site of care, and Withings biometric devices, are simply the first of many examples to come in this second wave of health care transformation.

But from my point of view, the most interesting part of the transformation of the health care delivery system would occur from 2018-2025. At the time, we referred to this period of transformation as the Science of Prevention. As this wave crests, reactive basic health management will be replaced by a genome-linked life plan, where symptoms treatment can give way to monitoring and prevention, and one-size-fits-all medicine will be replaced by personalized medicine with accurate diagnostics and tailored therapies empowered by the personalized integration of multi-omic (genomic, metabolomic, proteomic), environmental, and social information.

I certainly never imagined back then as the twelve of us sat around that table that I would be back in Huntsville six years later working with the Envision Genomics team who is leading the transformation to wave three. Envision Genomics was established by the world-class group of scientists and clinicians who brought genomics into clinical medicine by sequencing, diagnosing, and curing Nic Volker, a child who was dying from a previously unknown disease. From that beginning, genomic medicine has begun to hit the mainstream, with hundreds of companies now offering sequencing and sequencing related services to primarily help in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Envision Genomics has a different vision: we believe that whole genome sequencing is the most cost-effective solution for diagnosing rare and undiagnosed disorders, so long as it is integrated into evidence-based clinical care models designed to identify patients who could most benefit from genomic medicine services. And many such patients exist, because rare disease is not all that rare. Thirty million people in the U.S are living with a rare disease, which is one out of ten Americans. There are more than 7000 types of rare diseases defined as affecting less than one in 200,000 people. That means that the average physician will not likely encounter a specific rare disorder multiple times over his or her entire career. But these same physicians will likely see patients every day with rare disorders that impact the course of care or response to treatment.

On average, the time it takes to correctly diagnose a rare disorder is more than seven years, with thousands of dollars of unnecessary medical testing done in the process of this diagnostic odyssey, and three misdiagnoses made during the process. This thoroughly unpleasant diagnostic odyssey is one where patients bounce from specialist to specialist, undergoing multiple diagnostic tests and ineffective therapies, even unnecessary exploratory surgeries. Over fifty percent of those affected by rare disease are children, with thirty percent dying before the first year of life. The 2.5% of children with rare disease contributes 30% of the total cost of hospital care for children.

Even more important than the financial burden of the current state of medical care for those with rare and undiagnosed disorders is the adverse impact these diseases have on individuals and their families. The anguish of bouncing around a medical system ill-prepared to address their complex problems, the lack of social services integrated into their care management, and the anxiety associated with having a medical problem for which no one can provide a satisfactory explanation or treatment plan are enormous burdens for these patients and families to bear.

Envision Genomics is prepared to tackle these problems today. We are committed to improving the quality and reducing the cost of healthcare by unlocking the utility and value of the genomic sequence for patient care. We partner with health systems to provide state-of-the-art whole genome sequencing and analytics as well as care models in cost-effective clinics where patients with rare and undiagnosed medical disorders are provided answers, treatment plans, and integrated care coordination. We invite health systems to join us as we move on to the next wave of health care transformation. Together we will improve medical care in ways we hardly dreamed of a few short years ago.

Grace E Terrell MD MMM
Chief Executive Officer

Envision Genomics
601 Genome Way
Huntsville, AL 35806

Envision Genomics names Dr. Grace Terrell Founding CEO

by dparker dparker No Comments

Huntsville, Ala. ━ Envision Genomics, a genomics health company headquartered in Huntsville, Ala., has named Grace E. Terrell, MD MMM, its founding chief executive officer.

Dr. Terrell is a national leader in health care delivery system reform. In 2012, she founded Cornerstone Health Enablement Strategic Solutions (CHESS), a North Carolina company dedicated to helping health systems and other medical groups transition to value-based medicine. From 2000 until 2016, she concurrently served as CEO of Cornerstone Health Care, a physician-owned and led multi-disciplinary practice of more than 330 physicians and mid-level health professionals. Most recently, Dr. Terrell served as a founder and strategist for CHESS and is a practicing internist at Cornerstone Health Care.

“Dr. Terrell’s experience in improving population health, redesigning patient care models, and clinical integration are a great fit for the Envision Genomics model,” said Jim Hudson, chairman of the board at Envision. “Envision Genomics is dedicated to transforming disease care to true health care through genomics. Dr. Terrell’s expertise will help get us there,” he added.

A practicing physician for more than two decades, Dr. Terrell received her MD at the Duke University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at North Carolina Baptist Hospital, and also received a Master of Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Terrell currently serves on the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC), the Board of Directors of the American Medical Group Association, the American Medical Association’s Integrated Physician section, the CHESS board of directors and the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Center’s Leadership Alliance.

Her first day with Envision Genomics will be April 3, 2017.

About Envision Genomics: Envision Genomics is a clinical genomics service provider in Huntsville, Ala. Envision helps clinicians diagnose rare disease through the integration of genomic data into clinical care. Envision is building a network of children’s hospitals and empowering them to practice genomic medicine by providing the end-to-end expertise, infrastructure and resources necessary to implement and deploy clinical genomics.

Envision Media Contact:

Aaron Fisher


Envision Genomics presents at Oliver Wymann Summit

by dparker dparker No Comments

HudsonAlpha associate company Envision Genomics will join 400 health leaders from around the globe  in Chicago on September 21-23 for the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit. The explicit goal of this year’s event, which is themed The Consumer Imperative: Transforming Healthcare From the Outside In, is to accelerate health market transformation through a radically better understanding of the consumer.

Jim Hudson, Howard Jacob and Liz Worthey will present during the Precision Medicine Executive session and will be addressing:

Why Precision Medicine Matters Now.

Read the full story here.