One in a Billion presenters Daniel Helbling, Amylynne Santiago Volker and Kathleen Gallagher in panel discussion.

‘One in a Billion’ shows how DNA technologies save lives, enhance health care delivery

A medical mystery:
How doctors pushed ‘medical frontier’ to save a boy’s life

WIPPS, in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), presented a panel discussion November 15 on a medical mystery that threatened the life of a young Wisconsin boy and how it was solved – thanks to relentless efforts by his doctors, researchers and his mother’s fierce determination to find a cure.

“One in a Billion: A Medical Mystery, a Young Boy’s life,” highlighted the Pulitzer-price winning story by Kathleen Gallagher and Mark Johnson, who described the challenges they faced in writing the newspaper story, from following a family in the midst of a medical crisis to translating the complexities of a new technology for a lay audience.

Panelists included Gallagher, Amylynne Santiago Volker, Nic’s mom and founder of the Nicholas Volker One in a Billion Foundation; and Daniel Helbling, senior clinical genomics analyst at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Audience members engaged with the panelists throughout the event, with several sharing personal stories of how genetics and genetic sequencing has impacted their lives.

A book signing and meet and greet with the author and other panelists after the event gave the public an opportunity to learn more about DNA sequencing and how personalized medicine is making the treatment as individualized as the disease.

In addition to MCW, other program sponsors with WIPPS were the One in a Billion Foundation, Wisconsin Area Health Education Center, Aspirus and the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

The program is part of the Wisconsin Humanities Council Working Lives Project/Shop Talk Series.