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Genetic Alliance Launches Genomic Medicine Curriculum for El Camino Docs

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Genetic Alliance and the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics are launching a ten-part workshop to teach physicians at El Camino Hospital’s Genomic Medicine Institute how to apply genomic principles to personalize care for their patients.

The courses will start Oct. 18. Each two-hour workshop, priced at $60, will carry two continuing medical education credits. The price of all 10 workshops is $400.

The curriculum will comprise four foundational courses that will focus on teaching physicians how to use genomics and genetics to identify patients at risk of certain diseases or adverse reactions to drugs; when to order genetic tests; how to interpret test results; how to figure out test costs and insurance coverage; how to access the help of genetic counselors; and how to make the necessary medical referrals to genetics experts.

Additionally, there will be six workshops covering the use of personalized medicine for specific conditions, such as psychiatric disorders, cancer, prenatal and pediatric disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular disease.

Among the tests discussed in these courses will be Genomic Health's Oncotype DX breast cancer recurrence test and Myriad Genetics' BRACAnalysis test to gauge women's risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Each course will be taught by a subject matter expert and an El Camino Hospital doctor. Doctors who attend all four foundational courses and at least three of the condition-specific sessions will receive a certificate of completion.

The impetus for these educational workshops started in March, when El Camino's Genomic Medicine Institute released a request for proposals to design a comprehensive curriculum in genomics for practicing physicians. "The joint Genetic Alliance-NCHPEG proposal was selected, and we began work with GMI in May," a Genetic Alliance spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, after Genetic Alliance tests out the curriculum at El Camino, it may be rolled out to other hospitals and physician groups interested in adopting genomic and genetic testing into their practices.

The course is in line with El Camino's decision in 2009 to offer genetic testing and counseling services to all patients presenting to the hospital — making it one of the first such programs in the country (PGx Reporter 4/01/09).

Other hospitals, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, Children's Hospital Boston, and several others, have since launched genetic and pharmacogenetic testing programs with the aim of providing personalized care to their patients.

"As important as it is to learn the science, we also have to focus on the ultimate beneficiaries, individuals and families," James O’Leary, chief innovation officer at Genetic Alliance, said in a statement. "With genomic medicine breakthroughs so much in the news, patients are going to increasingly look to genomics in order to make informed decisions and to find better treatment options. Their doctors need to be able to communicate the risks and benefits of those decisions."