211376 Direct to consumer genetic testing and personalized medicine: Achieving public health goals

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:30 PM

Toby Citrin, JD , Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Jodyn E. Platt, MPH , Life Sciences and Society Program, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
How can the rapidly advancing field of personalized medicine, and direct-to-consumer genetics in particular, serve the goals of public health? At first glance, the terms “personalized” and “medicine” would seem to be inconsistent with public health, relating to individuals rather than populations and with the medical care system rather than the public health system. Indeed, the growth of new tools for medicine might widen health disparities if this growth results in widening access between the medical “haves” and “have-nots” and if marketing that targets racial or ethnic groups tends to reify false notions of genetic determinism of traits associated with racial or ethnic groups. How might we assure that research, translation and implementation in this area are oriented toward disease prevention and health promotion for populations and the reduction of health disparities? Strategies might include (1) addressing the rise of direct-to-consumer marketing and availability of genomic tools by working with the relevant industries and the media, while advocating for reasonable regulation; (2) Applying what we're learning about individualized risk to the strengthening of public health programs to prevent chronic disease and reduce environmental harms; (3) addressing issues of access to avoid widening health disparities; (4) promoting public awareness through media and K-12 education; and (5) applying the Public Health Code of Ethics to personalized medicine practice and policy.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the social and ethical implications of personalized medicine and direct-to-consumer genetics. Identify strategies for assuring personalized medicine and DTC genetics are applied in ways that advance and do not impede public health goals.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to speak on this topic because I am Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan, Director of the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics and Co-Director of the University of Michigan Life Sciences and Society Program. I have been teaching a course on public health genetics policy and ethics (which includes a unit on personalized medicine and DTC) for students in the Public Health Genetics Interdepartmental Concentration since its inception.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.