About one to two percent of the US population has a genetic variant that can lead to disease if not identified early for intervention. Screening of newborns is standard procedure, with an infant blood sample tested within 24-48 hours. Positive tests lead to medical interventions that can save babies’ lives.
For adults, the picture is much more complex. Genetic screening is not as clear cut to identify causes of disease, and adults may simply choose to not be tested, despite the benefits of testing to society. The public health and ethical impacts of genomic screening are the focus of a new paper co-authored by the School of Public Health’s Kee Chan, PhD, clinical assistant professor of health policy and administration. “A Proposed Approach for Implementing Genomics-Based Screening Programs for Healthy Adults” was published by the Genomics and Population Health Action Collaborative, part of the National Academy of Medicine.
“We need to consider the perspective of all decision-makers, from the individual, society, third payers and healthcare systems,” Chan said. “We have to look at how we count economic value and health outcomes for future generations and for current family members.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 13