Genetic Testing incorporation in Medical Practice: Online Program aimed at Educating Physicians and other Health Care Professionals – Initiative by American Medical Association (AMA), in partnership with Scripps Translational Science Institute (Scripps) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX)
Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
JAX, AMA, Scripps Launch Genomic Education for Physicians
By Clinical Informatics News Staff
July 14, 2016 | The American Medical Association (AMA), in partnership with Scripps Translational Science Institute (Scripps) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), have announced a new online program aimed at educating physicians and other health care professionals on the benefits and limitations of genetic testing and when it is appropriate to incorporate it into their practices.
“For the very first time we’re moving into translational education—that is, we’re doing continuing medical education and doing it quite well,” Edison Liu, President and CEO of the Jackson Laboratory, told Clinical Informatics News. “What we have found is that there is an ever-widening gulf that is widening on a year by year basis between the practitioners of the art of medical medicine and the academic practitioners who use and experiment in genomics.”
The first educational module of the 12-part series, “Precision Medicine for Your Practice”, launched last week and focuses on expanded carrier screening. The module is designed to help physicians who provide prenatal care to understand the benefits and limitations of using expanded genetic screening panels to estimate whether expectant and prospective parents risk passing on to their children dozens of conditions.
Eleven additional modules, all carrying CME credit, will be released over the next year, and will focus on other applications of genetic testing, including targeted therapy in oncology, genomic sequencing, cardiogenomics, neurogenomics, pharmacogenomics, and ethics in precision medicine. In each module, clinicians will have the opportunity to practice applying genetic information to patient cases, assess the utility of genetic information, and learn about benefits and limitations of new genetic tests.
Liu said physicians will have the opportunity to combine online and experiential instruction. “Our fundamental belief… is that the most impactful education is combined, blended online and experiential. But it has to be blended in a way that accommodates the schedule of a busy physician,” he said.
JAX and its partners have been experimenting with online introductions to vocabulary and principles, and then day-long practicums at the JAX facility in Maine, “usually a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning,” Liu explained. JAX is also developing post-course communities, to connect physicians to resources, experts, and each other.
“Genomics is racing away in complexity; the technologies are just beyond belief,” Liu said. “We have found there’s really a growing misunderstanding by very smart practicing physicians on what genomics can or can’t deliver. What we are wanting to do is close that gap.”