Understanding how our genome – our complete genetic code – influences our health can mean better diagnoses, leading to new and targeted treatments, and even predicting and preventing disease.
The national Genomics Education Programme is an NHS initiative supported by Health Education England (HEE). It exists to build the knowledge, skills and experience required to ensure the English health service remains a world leader in genomic and precision medicine.
Originally founded to build national capability for the 100,000 Genomes Project, its work continues to support the wider transformation of our health services, as genomic technologies are integrated into healthcare practice.
The Cambridge Genomic Medicine Programme – postgraduate and continuing professional and personal development (CPDD) courses — is delivered as part of the Genomics Education Programme framework.
The importance of genomics education in primary care
As the field of genomics advances, an increasing number of patients will be able to access testing either through research programmes, as part of clinical care, or by direct-to-consumer testing from commercial companies.
They and their relatives will turn to primary care practitioners (PCPs) for discussion and advice on genomic tests and their results — a patient with results of a commercial genomic screen for example, or whose family member carries a pathogenic variant associated with cancer, or a mother wishing to discuss a neonatal screening test — will reach out to PCPs for information.
Primary care practitioners will need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to communicate genomic information, understand the implications of the information, and institute appropriate management.
Developments in genomics within cancer diagnosis and treatment, familial cancer, pharmacogenomics, rare diseases, infectious diseases and complex disease all have the potential to impact on primary care.
The Genomics Education Programme is a wealth of resources and education about genetics and genomics in medicine. It provides free online resources, guides, fact-sheets, CPPD training modules, and Master’s, Diploma, and Certificate award training.