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CDC to Restructure Office of Public Health Genomics in Wake of 90 Percent Budget Cut

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that it will restructure its Office of Public Health Genomics as a result of an expected budget cut of more than 90 percent in fiscal year 2012.

According to the CDC's proposed 2012 budget, funding for OPHG would plummet to $749,000 from a 2010 level of $12.3 million.

CDC said that OPHG's genomic activities "overlap with other federal agencies" and that the agency intends to "focus the staff on the implementation of proven applications of genomics to areas of public health importance."

The cut of approximately $11.6 million will leave OPHG with enough funding "to provide expertise on issues as they arise," CDC said.

During the 2012 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2011, OPHG will maintain a "core staff" to provide public health genomics expertise "as relevant to CDC's mission;" inform the CDC about genomic applications "anticipated to impact the health of the population;" and "facilitate the implementation of genomics with CDC programs, other agencies, and external partners in order to improve population health."

CDC said that available funds "could also support convening internal and external stakeholders to identify public health opportunities in genomics.

Further, OPHG said that it will "continue to work closely with genomics experts and programs that are already integrated throughout CDC, in areas such as laboratory science, birth defects, chronic and infectious diseases, and occupational and environmental health."

CDC established the OPHG in 1997 in an effort to integrate genomic advances into public health policy, research, and programs.

Led by Director Muin Khoury, the CDC's OPHG has spearheaded a number of personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics efforts, including the independent Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention Working Group, the Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention Network, and the Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention Knowledge Base.

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