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Public Health Genomics Program Review

4.5 Other OPHG Scientific Highlights

National Surveys of Direct-To-Consumer Nutrigenomic Tests

In 2006, OPHG utilized two national surveys—HealthStyles and DocStyles—to assess U.S. consumer awareness and use of direct-to-consumer (DTC) nutrigenomic tests (HealthStyles), and to assess knowledge of and experiences with these tests among U.S. physicians (DocStyles). OPHG found that 14% of consumers were aware of nutrigenomic tests, and 0.6% reported using them. 44% of physicians were aware of these tests, and of those, 41% had never had a patient ask about such tests, and 74% had never discussed the results of a nutrigenomic test with a patient.

Until now, no national baseline information has been available regarding public awareness, interest in, or use of DTC nutrigenomic tests. Likewise, information is scarce regarding health care providers’ knowledge, attitudes, and experiences with DTC nutrigenomic tests. This information provides insight into the public demand for such tests and the potential for harm and, as additional information is collected over time, will provide a historical reference of trends in awareness and use. In addition, baseline information can be tracked longitudinally to assess the impact of policies, efforts at public and provider education, and the evolution of the availability and demand for such test.


Goddard KAB, Moore C, Ottman D, Szegda KL, Bradley L, Khoury MJ. Awareness and use of direct-to-consumer nutrigenomic tests, United States, 2006. Genet Med. 2007 Aug;9(8):510-7.

Public Health Genomics Seminar Series

During FY2007, OPHG organized a public health genomics seminar series, “Public Health Genomics: Closing the Gap Between Human Genome Discoveries and Population Health,” in partnership with the National Cancer Institute, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institute for Child Health and Development, and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The goal of this seminar series is to educate health researchers and practitioners in public health genomics. The series explores various topics at the intersection of genetics, medicine, and public health, and the contributions of the multidisciplinary field of public health genomics to the translation of gene discoveries into population health benefits.

From January to October 2007, eight seminars were conducted on these topics:

  • What is public health genomics and why should we care? An overview of the series
  • How do we assess the contribution of complex genotypes and gene-environment interaction to the population burden of common diseases?
  • What is the role of behavioral and social sciences in translating genetic research into population health benefits?
  • Knowledge integration in public health genomics: evaluation of the epidemiologic evidence
  • Knowledge integration in public health genomics: evaluation of genetic and genomic tests
  • But how do we translate new genetic knowledge into practice?
  • How do we actually translate guidelines into action?
  • How do we monitor the impact of genomics on population health?
  • Can we use family history as a tool for disease prevention and public health?
  • Can Genomics help heal the schism between medicine and public health?

The last seminar is planned for November 29th, 2007, and will focus on “Genomics
and the schism between basic sciences, medicine and public health.”

This seminar series is conducted at NIH and broadcast live at CDC. Videocasts and slides of the presentations and selected articles are available as a resource on OPHG’s Web site.

Influenza Public Health Genomics Workshop

In January 2007, OPHG and National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases held a workshop to discuss opportunities for public health research on the role of human genomics in influenza disease and vaccine response. More than 100 participants from diverse fields—including immunology, virology, epidemiology, medicine and public health—working in government, academia, and private-sector research organizations attended the workshop. The workshop concluded by proposing priorities for genomics research on determinants of influenza disease severity and vaccine response and side effects.


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  • Additional information for Public Health Genomics is available on our contact page. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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