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Public Health Genomics. 2012;15(6):327-34. doi: 10.1159/000341889. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

Public health action in genomics is now needed beyond newborn screening.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA, USA.


For decades, newborn screening was the only public health program in the US focused on reducing morbidity, mortality and disability in people affected by genetic conditions. The landscape has changed, however, as evidence-based recommendations are now available for several other genomic applications that can save lives now in the US. Many more such applications are expected to emerge in the next decade. An action plan, based on evidence, provides the impetus for a new paradigm for public health practice in genomics across the lifespan using established multilevel processes as a guide. These include policy interventions, education, clinical interventions, and surveillance. Applying what we know today in hereditary breast/ovarian cancer, Lynch syndrome and familial hypercholesterolemia has the potential to affect thousands of people in the US population every year. Enhanced partnerships between genetic and nongenetic providers of clinical medicine and public health are needed to overcome the challenges for implementing genomic medicine applications both now and in the future.

Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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