ASHG and Mayo Clinic Launch Educational Collaboration

Media Contacts:
Nalini Padmanabhan, ASHG Communications Manager
301.634.7346 |

Colette Gallagher, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs Specialist
507.284.5005 |

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 22, 2016
12:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time

New Programs Facilitate Integration of Genomics into Health and Medicine

BETHESDA, MD, and ROCHESTER, MN – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine (CIM) announced today a formal collaboration under which the two organizations will facilitate the effective use of genomics in medicine through the education of health professionals.

“Genetics and genomics are evolving rapidly and reshaping significant areas of the healthcare landscape and medical education,” said Joseph D. McInerney, MA, MS, Executive Vice President of ASHG. “To keep pace with these developments and translate them into healthcare, learners require accurate, current, and clinically useful information conveyed through high-quality educational products and programs,” he said.

“As the individuals conducting research and implementing findings in the clinic, Mayo Clinic and ASHG members are particularly well suited to advancing genetic and genomic literacy at this significant inflection point in medical history,” said Keith Stewart, MB, ChB, Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director, CIM, and Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Professor of Cancer Research. “By combining the expertise of our organizations and leveraging our resources collaboratively, we hope to fill this need and improve health outcomes.”

The first joint ASHG-CIM educational program, targeted toward obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) and related health professionals, will address the use of prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening in pregnant women. Analysis of cfDNA provides a method of non-invasive prenatal genetic screening by isolating DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood.

“Prenatal genetics is a rapidly moving area with unique clinical and ethical challenges. If we can help providers and patients have more comprehensive conversations around their prenatal screening and testing options, families can make the informed choices that are right for them,” said Megan Allyse, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Program.

“CfDNA testing has been marketed heavily by test manufacturers and rapidly adopted by clinicians, despite lingering concerns about inappropriate use and confusion about the interpretation of test results and how they should be communicated to patients,” added Michael J. Dougherty, PhD, ASHG Director of Education. A series of short online modules and point-of-care tools produced by ASHG and CIM will help health professionals better integrate this genomic technology into their practices.

About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit:

9650 Rockville Pike | Bethesda, MD 20814 | 301.634.7300 | |

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About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

About Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine

The Center for Individualized Medicine discovers and integrates the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care for each Mayo Clinic patient. For more information, visit

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