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Public Health Genomics. 2012;15(2):92-7. doi: 10.1159/000334267. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Using core public health functions to promote BRCA best practices among health plans.

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Division of Genomics, Perinatal Health and Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, Mich 48909, USA. DuquetteD @



The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Cancer Genomics Program sought to increase the number of health plans with a written policy aligned with the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Grade B Recommendation stating that women whose family history is associated with an increased risk for deleterious mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 be referred for genetic counseling and evaluation for BRCA testing.


Through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MDCH with health plan partners utilized multiple methods (i.e. surveillance, education, federal and state policies, partnerships, and dissemination) to increase the number of health plans with a written policy aligned with the USPSTF Grade B BRCA Recommendation between 2008 and 2011.


Since 2008, the number of health plans that have policies consistent with USPSTF Grade B BRCA Recommendation in Michigan increased from 4 to 11. These 11 health plans provide coverage to over 7 million Michigan residents. Honors were bestowed by MDCH to these 11 health plans for their exemplary written policies.


MDCH has implemented a novel and effective approach to promote cancer genomics best practices through health plan policies that serves as a model for federal and state agencies.

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