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GenomeFIRST awarded $400K grant to bring genomic information into patients’ care plans

Feb 01, 2016 02:10AM ● Published by Erica Shames

Geisinger Health System has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support GenomeFIRST Medicine, a unique program to help patients and providers understand and use genomic information in their health care.

“As we enter the era of precision health, we will increasingly use genetic information to identify health risk and then use preventive strategies to avoid disease. This program is building the infrastructure to do that,” said Dr. Michael Murray, director of clinical genomics, Geisinger Genomic Medicine Institute. “At Geisinger, we strongly believe that genome sequencing will become more and more integrated into routine care, and that GenomeFIRST Medicine will drive medicine toward early diagnoses and disease prevention for many of our patients.”

The GenomeFIRST Medicine program takes a comprehensive approach to care that includes genomic screening, interpretation and managing results — essentially changing health care by expanding providers’ ability to care for their patients before a problem arises. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Geisinger will pilot a scalable model for integrating genomic results into the everyday care of 300 Geisinger patients. The project will focus on the three most common genetic conditions in Geisinger’s GenomeFIRST program: Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC), Lynch Syndrome, and Familial Hypercholesterolemia.

“We are anticipating a future where genomic information is a routine part of care, much like temperature and blood pressure measurements are today,” said Paul Tarini, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “But genomic information is often about potentials and risks and the data can have implications for other members of your family. What we don’t understand is how to integrate that data directly into the processes of care. The Geisinger project is testing an approach to help people and providers manage this information and is a critical step toward a Culture of Health,” he said.

Geisinger opened the Precision Health Center in Forty Fort in 2015. The 14,000-square-foot, $562,000 facility houses highly specialized teams from Geisinger's Clinical Genomics and Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI), and serves as the primary location for Geisinger Research in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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