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CDC Seeks Input on Public Health Genomics Priorities

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Originally published July 11.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking public input on its public health genomics agenda for the next five years.

In a notice published June 30 in the Federal Register, the CDC requested the public to submit comments and data to help it "assess the current research, policy, and practice environment in public health genomics." The CDC added that it's in the process of figuring out "the most important steps for public health genomics in the next five years."

This evaluation comes as the CDC plans to cut the 2012 budget for its Office of Public Health Genomics by 90 percent, to around $749,000. Despite the significant slash in funds, OPHG is still expected to "provide expertise on [genomics] issues as they arise," according to CDC's report to Congress (PGx Reporter 03/12/2011).

OPHG Director Muin Khoury previously told PGx Reporter that the office will still try to advance public health genomics efforts with a minimum staff, and enlist the help of other agencies and non-governmental entities who can pick up some of its projects. For example, OPHG's GAPPNet program, an effort to collect, vet, and disseminate available clinical evidence on genetic tests, will be taken over by the non-profit Genetic Alliance.

CDC's effort to garner public input on a public health genomics agenda appears to be an attempt to not only identify priorities but also potential partners.

In its request for information, CDC specifically requests guidance on critical public health areas that require greater application of genomics knowledge; what public health outcomes might be improved due to the application of such genomics strategies; what public health policies are needed to facilitate the incorporation of genomic knowledge into healthcare; what institutions and agencies should be involved in a public health genomics effort; and the barriers that need to be overcome for incorporation of a public health genomics agenda.

Public comments may be submitted electronically or mailed to the Office of Public Health Genomics on or before Aug. 1.

Although its FY 2012 budget request slashed OPHG's funding, CDC's total request for the fiscal year represents an 11.6 percent increase over the FY 2010 level. This boost includes $560.7 million for the Affordable Care Act Prevention and Public Health Fund. CDC noted that its budget request also includes $100 million in "targeted administrative savings" compared to FY 2010.

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