In October 2020, the Center for Genomic Interpretation (CGI) was awarded funding from the Utah Cancer Genomics Program for “Quality Matters: Recognizing and Assessing Differences in BRCA and Lynch Syndrome Genetic Tests Across Laboratories Most Used by Utah’s Clinicians.” In collaboration with the Association for Utah Genetic Counselors (AUG), CGI is assessing which laboratories are most used by genetic counselors for evaluating hereditary cancer, implementing continuing education for both genetic counselors and non-genetic counselor clinicians involved in ordering hereditary cancer genetic diagnostics for patients in whom such testing is indicated, and developing an openly accessible comparative resource delineating various aspects of multiple laboratories.
By improving clinician knowledge and competence, this project is expected to improve care for patients who are at a particularly vulnerable juncture of their healthcare journey. Furthermore, improving quality in ordered laboratory diagnostics is likely to improve care for patient populations most adversely affected by healthcare disparities.
“Through our collaboration with AUG, this program is an exciting opportunity for Utah’s genetic counselors to lead the way in making critical improvements to quality of genetic diagnostics in hereditary cancer. We are additionally excited to be a part of Utah’s evolving healthcare and biotech ecosystem and hope we can help establish the state as a national leader in quality clinical genetics and genomics,” said Megan Garlapow, PhD, CGI’s Chief Strategy Officer and co-Principal Investigator on the grant.
“We anticipate this project will establish a multifaceted program in Utah driving quality in hereditary cancer diagnostics that will support improved care across all patients, their families, and their clinicians facing together critical treatment decisions. We expect this work will be particularly impactful on minority populations that are vulnerable to inaccurate diagnostic outcomes. This project could support elevating Utah as a national leader in transparency, quality, accuracy, and excellence in human clinical genetics and genomics. The emphasis on freely available information removes the unintentional obfuscation and impediments that can accompany programs with goals of driving quality that adhere to intensive regulatory pathways to achieve such results,” said Erin Heckaman, MS, licensed genetic counselor, Director and President of AUG, and co-Principal Investigator on the grant.
This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, DP19-1905, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.