On September 22, 2016, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine (CIM) announced a formal collaboration under which the two organizations will facilitate the effective use of genomics in medicine through the education of health professionals. “Genetics and genomics are evolving rapidly and reshaping significant areas of the healthcare landscape and medical education,” said Joseph D. McInerney, M.A., M.S., Executive Vice President of ASHG. “To keep pace with these developments and translate them into healthcare, learners require accurate, current, and clinically useful information conveyed through high-quality educational products and programs,” he said. “As the individuals conducting research and implementing findings in the clinic, Mayo Clinic and ASHG members are particularly well suited to advancing genetic and genomic literacy at this significant inflection point in medical history,” said Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director, CIM, and Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Professor of Cancer Research at the Mayo Clinic. “By combining the expertise of our organizations and leveraging our resources collaboratively, we hope to fill this need and improve health outcomes.” The first joint ASHG-CIM educational program, targeted toward obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) and related health professionals, will address the use of prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening in pregnant women. Analysis of cfDNA provides a method of non-invasive prenatal genetic screening by isolating DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood. “Prenatal genetics is a rapidly moving area with unique clinical and ethical challenges.
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