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J Bioeth Inq. 2016 Jun;13(2):193-202. doi: 10.1007/s11673-016-9716-2. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

Socio-Genomics and Structural Competency.

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Department of Sociology, Princeton University; and the National Bureau of Economic Research, 153 Wallace Hall, Princeton, NJ, 08540, USA.
Departments of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


Adverse developmental exposures and pathologies of the social environment make vastly greater contributions to the leading health burdens in society than currently known genotypic information. Yet, while patients now commonly bring information on single alleles to the attention of their healthcare team, the former conditions are only rarely considered with respect to future health outcomes. This manuscript aims to integrate social environmental influences in genetic predictive models of disease risk. Healthcare providers must be educated to better understand genetic risks for complex diseases and the specific health consequences of societal adversities, to facilitate patient education, disease prevention, and the optimal care in order to achieve positive health outcomes for those with early trauma or other social disadvantage.


Environment; Epigenetic; Genotype; Health; Medical education; Social genomics; Structural competency

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