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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention  
Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention
About the Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention, CDC
"Gene discovery is only the beginning." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s primary disease prevention agency, established the Office of Genetics and Disease Prevention in 1997. The office was renamed the Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention (OGDP) in 2003. Currently, OGDP provides national public health leadership, and builds partnerships with other federal agencies, as well as public health organizations, professional groups, and the private sector.

Our Vision: To improve population health and prevent disease through the application of genomic information.

Our Mission: To integrate genomics into public health research, policy and programs.

Our Goals:

  1. Integrate genomics into public health research,
  2. Assess the value of family history and genomic tests for population health, and
  3. Incorporate genomics into public health practice.
Translating Genomic Goals into Action

I. Integrating Genomics into Public Health Research:

Genomics can provide new insights into why some people, but not others, get sick from certain infections, environmental exposures, and behaviors. Knowing who will get sick or how many people are at increased risk is useful for identifying environmental, behavioral, or pharmaceutical interventions that will reduce the public’s disease burden.

For example, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a CDC-wide team is measuring population variation of genes using stored DNA samples collected during the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Understanding variation in these genes is important for public health research and program planning.

II. Assessing the Value of Family History and Genetic Tests for Population Health

Family history information can be used to assess risk of developing common diseases and to influence early detection and prevention strategies. A family history assessment is also the first step toward identifying families with increased risk who may benefit from genetic testing. This information is also valuable for creating appropriate health education and behavior modification strategies for high-risk families.

In 2002, CDC and its partners launched a public health initiative to develop and evaluate a family history tool. This tool will be used to help identify individuals at increased familial risk for common chronic diseases — including heart disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer—and to offer guidance on disease prevention.

CDC strives to further the safe, effective, and appropriate use of genetic testing by collecting valid clinical and laboratory data on genetic tests, and also by communicating the latest information to consumers, practitioners, and policy makers. CDC and its partners assess the impact of these activities on public health by developing population-based information about consumer and provider knowledge, attitudes, and use of genetic tests.

III. Integrating Genomics into Public Health Practice

CDC integrates genomics into public health programs, including chronic disease prevention, infectious disease assessment, and workplace evaluations. In 2001, CDC convened a Summit on Genomics and Chronic Diseases to raise awareness and define program priorities. By sponsoring conferences, workshops, training, and career development opportunities, CDC is helping public health professionals learn how to use genomics in disease prevention efforts. CDC has collaborated with leaders in local, state, and federal public health programs to develop a set of competencies in genomics for the public health workforce.

In 2001, CDC established the first Centers for Genomics and Public Health at three schools of public health in order to develop regional hubs of expertise for integrating genomics into public health practice. In 2003, CDC established cooperative agreements with four state health agencies to develop or expand their capacity for genomics leadership and to promote coordination.

CDC is dedicated to the dissemination of quality information about genomics and health. The OGDP Web site plays a major, ongoing role as a clearinghouse for information about translating genomics into public health practice. For example, the Genomics and Health Weekly Update features links to current news items and scientific publications, events, and training opportunities. This is just one example of the many health communication strategies that CDC is using to reach public health professionals.


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 Muin J. Khoury, MD PhD  Director
 Scott Bowen, MPH  Deputy Director (Acting)
 Marta Gwinn, MD, MS  Associate Director for Science

Genomics and Population Health Research Team

 Cynthia Moore, MD PhD  Team Lead (Acting)
 Mary Lou Lindegren, MD  Medical Epidemiologist
 Robert Davis, MD, MPH  Medical Epidemiologist (visiting scientist)
 Shauna Lyn, MD  EIS Officer
 Bruce Lin, MPH  HuGENet™ Coordinator
 Mindy Clyne, MHS
 HuGENet™ Special Projects
 Ridgely Fisk Green, PhD  ASHG Public Health Genetics Fellow

Genomics and Family History Initiative Team

 Paula Yoon, ScD, MPH  Team Lead
 Kathleen L. Szegda, MPH, MS  Project Coordinator  
 William (Kit) Whitworth,  MPH  Research Assistant
 Maren Scheuner, MD, MPH  Medical Geneticist, ATPM awardee
 Susan Hariri, PhD, MPH
 EIS Officer
 Nadeem Qureshi, MBBS  Visiting Fellow

Genomics and Public Health Service Team

 Linda Bradley, PhD  Team Lead
 Melanie Myers, PhD, MS  Public Health Geneticist
 Ieasha T. Edwards, MPH  Project Coordinator
 Bridget K. Ambrose, MPH
 Emerging Leaders Fellow
 Denisse Betancourt, MPH, MBA  Presidential Management Fellow

Program Management and Operations Team

 Leah Simpson, MBA  Public Health Advisor
 Rita Collins  Management Program Analyst
 Thelma Brown  Administrative Assistant
 Sheri Jordan  Administrative Assistant
 Mary Jane Cooper  Administrative Assistant
 Mechele Hester, B.A.  Administrative Assistant

Communication Team

 Denae Ottmann, MPH  Team Lead
 Lori Durand  Senior Web Developer
 Alex Charles
 Web Developer
 Diane Mayes  Communications Assistant
Last Updated October 12, 2004