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CDC Awards Funding to Support Cancer Genomics

CDC awarded about $1.4 million in funding to state health departments in Connecticut, Michigan, Oregon, and Utah to help people who have a high risk for developing hereditary cancer. Activities will focus on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, but may also include Lynch syndrome. Each health department will receive between $325,000 and $350,000 in 2014; total funding over five years is up to $7.5 million. This funding allows the states to develop or expand programs to—

  • Increase knowledge among the general public and among health care providers about hereditary cancers, genetic counseling, genetic testing, and associated clinical services.
  • Assess the burden of hereditary cancers and the use of genetic counseling, genetic testing, and associated clinical services.
  • Improve access to and insurance coverage of genetic counseling, genetic testing, and associated clinical services for high-risk people.

The five-year cooperative agreement, “Enhancing Cancer Genomic Best Practices through Education, Surveillance, and Policy,” is part of CDC’s effort to support the Affordable Care Act, the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act, and the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005, also known as Johanna’s Law.

  • The Connecticut Department of Public Health will educate health care providers in part by placing cancer‐focused, board-certified genetic counselors in adult primary care practices. It will also educate the public about the importance of knowing their family history, with a special focus on the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The state will also enhance existing statewide surveillance systems (state Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System [BRFSS] and insurance coverage data). Policy work will focus on promoting health plan coverage of recommended clinical practices and hospital cancer program standards.
  • The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)’s activities will target the entire state, especially counties that lack cancer genetic services and have a high incidence of breast cancer at a young age, ovarian cancer, and colorectal cancer. The state will continue to recognize health plans that are aligned with evidence-based guidelines. The MDCH will expand and use surveillance systems (BRFSS, a comprehensive statewide genomics surveillance network, and cancer registry and vital records data). The MDCH will educate the public, health care providers, health plans, health systems, and health professional organizations.
  • The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will educate the public, health care providers, public and private health insurance agencies, and health systems. It will enhance surveillance systems to assess the burden of hereditary cancer and the use of genetic services by the general public, and track knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of health care providers, health systems, health insurance agencies, and other professionals. In particular, the OHA will continue its strong collaboration with the state Medicaid program to improve appropriate genetic counseling and testing in that population; Oregon is one of the few states in which Medicaid covers genetic counseling and testing.
  • The Utah Department of Health will provide Web-based patient and provider education and develop a professional education intervention for physicians serving patients in rural areas of Utah who may not have access to genetic counseling or testing. The state will conduct a series of surveillance activities analyzing the Utah Population Database and BRFSS data and capturing data on primary care physicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. It will promote increased use of recommended clinical practices and implement system-level risk assessment practices in public health clinics that offer breast and cervical cancer screening to underserved women.
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