Rely on guidance from our knowledgeable experts when you examine your family medical history
Until the human genome code was fully decoded in 2003, medicine lacked a way to precisely predict and treat certain conditions that may be passed down through our families.
Since then, there have been rapid advances in genomic, or personalized, medicine, and awareness of its potential is increasing. Publications run articles about the major role genes play in our individual health profiles. People send away for a genetic test through one of the consumer-focused websites offering such tests. And everyone seems to be paying closer attention at family dinners to stories about what caused the deaths of their grandparents, aunts or uncles.
Knowing more about your genetic makeup can be a powerful tool for individuals when it comes to their health care, says Lynn Dowling, executive director of the Genomic Medicine Institute at El Camino Hospital. Proceeding with the help of your physician or a genetic counselor is best, she says. While tests reveal a lot of information, the results can be uncertain. Also, bringing a genetic trait to light can have an unexpected impact on family dynamics or be cause for worry about insurance or employment issues.
“Genomic medicine is a rapidly evolving and changing field,” says Eric Pifer, MD, chief medical officer, El Camino Hospital. “Patients need expert guidance when considering genetics in making medical decisions for themselves or their families.”
To advance physicians’ knowledge about genomic medicine, the Genomic Medicine Institute will graduate 20 El Camino Hospital physicians from a first-in-the-nation, 10-month Genomics for Practicing Doctors curriculum. In addition to learning the science, these physicians now have more practical knowledge about identifying patients who are at risk and knowing when to order tests and how to interpret the results.
The Genomic Medicine Institute also offers the services of an on-site certified genetic counselor, who meets with patients referred by their physician to review family and medical histories.
Start learning how personalized medicine could work for you by using our free Family Medical History Tool. This easy-to-use resource can help you catalog and analyze medical history information for you and your relatives.