BETHESDA, Maryland, and BAR HARBOR, Maine — The American Society of Human Genetics and The Jackson Laboratory announced Wednesdays a formal collaboration under which the two organizations will produce and deliver high-quality educational programs to integrate genetic and genomic advances into healthcare.
“Human genetics and genomics are evolving rapidly and these advances are reshaping significant areas of the healthcare landscape and medical education,” said Edison Liu, MD, president and CEO of JAX. “To keep pace with new developments and integrate them into clinical practice, JAX and ASHG will develop programs to educate groups such as students and trainees, primary care and other physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, and social workers.”
ASHG and JAX share a history of working — both independently and together — to promote genetics education. Of note, ASHG members and JAX faculty have jointly organized and taught an annual, two-week “Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics” at Bar Harbor for more than 50 years. Through the new collaboration, JAX and ASHG will further coordinate their educational activities by developing complementary programs and avoiding duplication of resources.
“ASHG and JAX are particularly well suited to advancing genetic and genomic literacy,” said Joseph D. McInerney, MA, MS, executive vice president of ASHG, in a press release. “The faculty and members of our two organizations are the individuals conducting the latest research into genetics and human health and disease. This collaboration will allow us to combine their areas of expertise and reach larger audiences than ever before.”
JAX trustee and ASHG past president David Valle, MD, Henry J. Knott Professor and director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, commended the new collaboration. “This is an exciting and vital educational partnership to advance the integration of genetics and genomics into medicine at this critical time,” he said, in a press release.
The first joint JAX-ASHG educational program will aim to educate primary care physicians on cancer genetic testing. The program is slated for launch in November 2014 at the new Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn.
Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in “The American Journal of Human Genetics“; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies.
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, with a facility in Sacramento, California, and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Connecticut. It employs more than 1,500 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.