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Genomics Translation

Genomic Workforce Competencies 2001

 

Introduction

Competencies for

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Genomic competencies for the public health workforce at any level in any program

A public health worker is able to: 

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of the role that genomics plays in the development of disease
  • Identify the limits of his/her genomic expertise
  • Make appropriate referrals to those with more genomic expertise

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Genomic competencies for ALL public health professionals

A public health professional within his/her professional field and program is able to: 

  • Apply the basic public health sciences, (including behavioral and social sciences, biostatistics, epidemiology, informatics, environmental health) to genomic issues and studies and genetic testing, using the genomic vocabulary to attain the goal of disease prevention 
  • Identify ethical and medical limitations to genetic testing, including uses that don't benefit the individual 
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge on the development of genetic advances and technologies relevant to his/her specialty or field of expertise and learn the uses of genomics as a tool for achieving public health goals related to his/her field or area of practice 
  • Identify the role of cultural, social, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors in development of disease, disease prevention, and health promoting behaviors; and their impact on medical service organization and delivery of services to maximize wellness and prevent disease 
  • Participate in strategic policy planning and development related to genetic testing or genomic programs
  • Collaborate with existing and emerging health agencies and organizations, academic, research, private and commercial enterprises, including genomic-related businesses, agencies and organizations and community partnerships to identify and solve genomic-related problems
  • Participate in the evaluation of program effectiveness, accessibility, cost benefit, cost effectiveness and quality of personal and population-based genomic services in public health 
  • Develop protocols to ensure informed consent and human subject protection in research and human subject protection in research

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Genomic competencies for ALL public health leaders/administrators

A public health leader/administrator as appropriate to a specific agency or program is able to:

  • Communicate role of genomics in public health to policy makers, community members and staff
  • Develop a clear understanding of the different perspectives of various community stakeholders that may use or apply genetic information beyond the individual and/or family
  • Identify the political, legal, social, ethical and economic issues associated with integrating genomics into public health
  • Effectively integrate genomic issues into policies and programs
  • Assure that current science and research are used in all planning for and delivery of genomic services
  • Include genomic competencies in staffing plans to ensure adequate capacity and infrastructure building
  • Assure that all workers develop appropriate genomic competencies and can appropriately apply genomic knowledge and tools within the parameters of their professional duties
  • Manage genomic program fiscal and human resources, including cost analysis of genetic tests or services, and strategies for developing budget priorities and proposals for funding from external sources to ensure equal access.
  • Promote a legislative agenda, public policies, statutes, and regulations that effectively address genomic issues to ensure appropriate use of genetic tests, adequate services for all, and adequate funding avenues

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Genomic competencies for public health professionals in clinical services evaluating individuals and families

The public health clinician, as appropriate to discipline, agency or program, is able to:

  • Apply basic genomic concepts including patterns of inheritance, gene-environment interactions, role of genes in health and disease, and implications for health promotion programs to relevant clinical services
  • Demonstrate understanding of the indications for, components of, and resources for genetic testing and/or genomic-based interventions
  • Describe ethical, legal, social, and financial issues related to genetic testing and recording of genomic information
  • Explain basic concepts of probability and risk and benefits of genomics in health and disease assessment in the context of the clinical practice
  • Deliver genomic information, recommendations, and care without patient or family coercion within an appropriate informed-consent process

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Genomic competencies for public health professionals in epidemiology and data management  

The public health epidemiologist and/or data manager, as appropriate to discipline, agency or program, is able to:

  • Apply basic epidemiologic skills to genomic situations on an individual and population basis, including surveillance for diseases, community wide population-based genomic research and follow-up studies
  • Identify the underlying scientific principles and evaluate strength of evidence from genomic literature including applicable interventions and effectiveness
  • Accurately describe the sensitivity and specificity of genetic tests to audiences
  • Provide appropriate baseline and other applicable data to develop and support genomic policies and intervention plans
  • Employ appropriate information systems and coordinate information from multiple sources to integrate genomics into health policies and programs
  • Protect confidentiality of genomic information through applicable confidentiality rules and data management systems
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, cost benefit and effectiveness, and quality of individual and population-based genomic services in public health 
  • Evaluate the utility of diagnostic testing and screening programs, including structure, function, and transmission of genes and gene/environmental interactions in public health
  • Conduct genomic epidemiology and data management public and professional education programs within limits of personal educational background

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Genomic competencies for public health professionals in population-based health education

Anyone providing education in a public health program, as appropriate to discipline, agency, or program, is able to:

  • Translate health related information about social and cultural environments, (including community needs and interests and societal value systems) for use in population-based scientifically sound genomic health education programs
  • Determine the factors such as learning styles, literacy, learning environment, and barriers that influence learning about genomics
  • Differentiate between genomic education and genetic counseling
  • Facilitate genomic education for agency staff, administrators, volunteers, community groups and other interested personnel
  • Utilize social marketing to develop a plan for incorporating genomics into health education services by working with community organizations, genomic experts, and other resource people for support and assistance in program planning
  • Provide a critical analysis of current and future community genomic education needs
  • Advocate genomic education programs and/or integration of genomic components into education programs

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Genomic competencies for public health professionals in laboratory sciences

The public health laboratory professional, as appropriate to discipline, agency or program, is able to:

  • Perform genetic assays with appropriate validation studies
  • Establish basic analytical and quality assurance performance criteria (sensitivity, specificity) for genetic tests
  • Participate in development of new test methodologies and standards for genetic testing to optimize test performance and efficiency and meet public health genomic program goals
  • Utilize evidence-based research to incorporate emerging genomic technology in public health laboratory practice
  • Communicate results of genetic tests, test limitations, complexities and implications, and relevant inferences from laboratory data to the public, policymakers, legislators, media, and health care providers in appropriate and concise language 
  • Advocate laboratory participation in genomic policy and regulatory development 
  • Participate in external validation studies of genetic testing with the larger clinical laboratory community to ensure appropriate introduction, application, interpretation and use

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Genomic competencies for public health professionals in environmental health

The public health environmental professional, as appropriate to discipline, agency or program, is able to:

  • Describe how environmental factors and genes can interact with each other in disease development
  • Apply methods to evaluate genetic susceptibilities in a population and use that information to direct environmental sampling activities, biological testing programs and other public health activities
  • Apply risk communication principles and genomic knowledge associated with exposures accurately in environmental programs
  • Describe how genomic information may affect public policy and zoning, environmental regulation, development, and planning
  • Advocate the environmental perspective in genomic policy and regulatory development.
  • Describe where and how to acquire accurate and practical genomic information and advice impacting environmental programs

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