In 1953, two young scientists published the structure of DNA, a Nobel Prize winning discovery that gave birth to the Interdisciplinary field of genomics. Beginning in 1990, scientists around the world embarked upon the Human Genome Project, with the goal of determining the composition of the entire human genome. The project is now complete, but there is so much more to learn from the genome: how our bodies function, how to prevent diseases, what makes different species unique, and even how life evolved on earth.
To ensure that future scientists, physicians and policy makers are prepared to take full advantage of the genomic revolution, the National Research Council issued a report (BIO2010) calling upon academic institutions to alter the way their students prepare for post-baccalaureate education in the health care professions.
Toward that end, the Winter term 2013 will mark the second year of a new interactive online course in the curriculum of the Oregon Masters of Public Health (OMPH) degree programs at Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon State University, and Portland State University. The course, Genomics and Public Health Policy: Current Issues and Future Trends seeks to understand genetic factors that contribute to individual and group variation in disease risk, and to translate that knowledge into actions and practice reflected in the core functions of public health. You can download the syllabus and course overview documents below.
In the words of one of the first-year OHSU MPH students of course instructor, G. Fowler–
“Genomics is the future of medicine, whether you like it or not. No matter what we think politically, medically, or morally about “advances” in healthcare, they will keep happening. Therefore it’s our individual responsibility on behalf of our profession to be informed practitioners of genomic medicine, and on behalf of the health and well-being of ourselves, our families, and the larger world in which we live, to be informed citizens.”