Identification of Issues of Concern in Public Health Genomics
for the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society
Suzanne Luther, Institute of Public Health Genetics, Department of Epidemiology
School of Public Health, University of Washington
Background Methods (continued)
The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, •Categories were classified by decreasing level of importance
and Society (SACGHS) assists the Department of Health and as high-priority topics for SACGHS consideration, low-priority
Human Services (HHS) in exploring concerns raised by topics for SACGHS consideration, and other topics of possible
genetic/genomic technologies and advises the HHS Secretary interest (see figure).
on how to address these issues. At the end of 2008, SACGHS •For the highest-priority categories, the literature was
identified public health genomics as a priority area for its reviewed and documents created to provide SACGHS with an
work, but did not define any specific focus within this overview of each topic, an exploration of specific issues, and
extremely broad subject. SACGHS is supported by the Office potential policy questions to be addressed
of Biotechnology Activities (OBA), under the Office of Science
Policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda,
•Three topics were identified as high-priority topics for
Objectives SACGHS consideration: disparities and access with regard to
genetic technologies, environmental justice and
•To identify topics of concern related to public health preparedness.
genomics about which SACGHS may wish to undertake •Papers were completed for the disparities/access and
examination environmental justice, and begun for the preparedness topic.
•To draft a series of documents outlining high-priority issues Categories of Topics in Public Health Genomics for •The preparedness paper and papers on carrier testing/non-
within public health genomics to assist SACGHS in deciding Potential Consideration by SACGHS
newborn screening and toxicogenomics are anticipated to be
which subjects might warrant closer scrutiny completed by a fellow hosted by OBA during the coming year
•A master list of subjects related to public health genomics
was generated, drawn from the academic literature, Acknowledgements and Funding
suggestions from UW Institute for Public Health Genetics
•Site Supervisor: Cathy Fomous, Ph.D., Senior Health Policy
(IPHG) faculty and students, transcripts of past SACGHS
Analyst, National Institutes of Health
meetings, SACGHS member requests and public comments.
•Faculty Advisor: Debra Lochner-Doyle, MS, CGC
•The master list was sorted into broad topic categories.
•Many thanks to Dr. Fomous, Abby Rives, and the SACGHS
Topics already taken up by or in the process of being
staff for their support, and the faculty and students of the
addressed by SACGHS or other committees were eliminated
UW IPHG for their input
•This practicum was completed as a paid internship through
the NIH Summer Internship Program at the OBA offices in