Genetics and Public Health: The Future is Now


double helixWhat does genetic research have to do with public health? Scientists have clearly established that virtually all human diseases result from the interaction of genetic variations and environmental factors (e.g. diet, infectious agents, and toxic chemicals). Scientific advances in genetics have increased our understanding of this interaction by identifying the genetic variations that contribute to disease risk. These discoveries have opened the door to disease prevention and shed new light on ways to practice public health. Join us as we examine the success and challenges faced by a working screening and treatment program for the inherited disorder of hemochromatosis, a condition of iron overload that is sometimes fatal. We will discuss the ethical, legal, and social implications of gene discoveries in public health and at the conclusion of the program you will be able to determine the impact of genetics research on your role as a public health professional.


To promote a national dialogue among public health leaders and professionals on genetics research and its impact on the practice of public health.


  • Describe the impact of genetic testing on the health outcomes of individuals, families and society.
  • Identify opportunities and barriers for integrating genetics into public health policy and programs.
  • List criteria for evaluating the appropriate use of genetic testing in improving health and reducing health care costs.


Public health leaders, managers, and professionals from local and state health departments, hospitals, clinics, academic institutions, managed care organizations, and others who seek to increase awareness of genetic research and its effect on the public health practice.