The completion of the human genome sequence was touted by scientists and journalists as one of the most significant scientific achievements in history because scientists succeeded in tracing nearly all of the three billion bits of the human genetic code.
Its completion highlights an effort in public health to address some very important questions that arise from knowing whats in your genes. How will public policy change? How do we use this information to improve health and prevent disease? Is there a need for genetic counseling? How will life change?
The School of Public Health will host a one-day symposium Sept. 18 that will feature, among other speakers, Francis Collins, who is director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and a U-M faculty member. Collins will deliver the keynote address on Public Health Genetics in a World Where the Human Sequence Is Known. With the vast majority of the human genome sequence known, research will uncover the major genetic susceptibility factors for most common illnesses in the next five to seven years. It will create a way to measure the risk of illness and will lead to preventive medicine. Collins will discuss these and other issues.
The symposium will be followed by the National Conference on Genetics and Disease Prevention, a two-day meeting of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), National Human Genome Research Institute, Michigan Department of Community Health, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. The meetings will take place at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre in the Michigan League.
Talks scheduled for the Sept. 18 public health symposium include:
The School of Public Healths Interdepartmental Concentration in Public Health Genetics was initiated in 1996. The programs faculty were responsible for organizing the symposium, coordinating with the Michigan Department of Community Health. An important feature of the symposium is the role that public health students in the concentration will play as symposium moderators.
The symposium is dedicated to Hunein (John) Massaab, professor of epidemiology and former chair of the Department of Epidemiology. Massaab has used genetics to develop a flu vaccine that is administered nasally and can be quickly adapted to fight the most current strain of flu.
The conference will be broadcast on the Web at www.sph.umich.edu/symposium/.
To register for the national conference, visit the CDC Web site, www.cdc.gov/genetics/courses/conf3.htm.
Registration for the School of Public Health Symposium, $50, will be at the door.