Public Health Genomics is the use of genomics information to benefit public health. This is visualized as more effective personalized preventive care and disease treatments with better specificity, targeted to the genetic makeup of each patient. (Bellagio Group on Public Health Genomics).
According to the CDC, Public Health genomics is an emerging field of study that assesses the impact of genes and their interaction with behavior, diet and the environment on the population’s health.
This field of public health genomics is less than a decade old. A number of think tanks, universities, and governments (including the U.S., UK, and Australia) have started public health genomics projects. Research on the human genome is generating new knowledge that will require changes in public health programs and policies. As advances in genomic sciences are increasingly used to improve health and prevent disease, educating and training the public health workforce, other healthcare providers, and citizens will be paramount to integrating this new knowledge into existing public health programs. In particular, providing genomic education to—and with—the public will help protect consumers against premature or inappropriate uses of genetic testing. Both the complexity and sheer amount of information related to genomics and health care may be overwhelming to both health care practitioners and the lay public. As new strategies, products and services evolve from genomic technologies in the coming years, it will become increasingly necessary to provide both specialized genomics-related education and training and general public information to enhance awareness, build competencies, make informed decisions, and ensure continuity of access to health services.
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