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Introduction to the Genomic Medicine Institute

Last Updated Monday, April 14, 2014 11:48:08 AM


In the spirit of innovation befitting our Silicon Valley roots, El Camino Hospital is the first community hospital in the nation to launch a Genomic Medicine Institute. Here, we provide physicians with the tools and support they need to bring the benefits of the rapidly growing field of genomics directly to our patients.

Thousands of genetic tests are currently available, with many more in development. Some of these tests can diagnose an existing hereditary condition, while others can evaluate your risk factors for developing certain diseases--so physicians can monitor you more closely and recommend preventive measures. Still other tests can actually predict how you will respond to a specific medication, reducing the amount of trial and error that may be involved in prescribing medication.

Genomic medicine uses the information gleaned from genetic testing to tailor treatment to the individual patient. This expedites care, reduces expenses, and lowers the risk of complications. The institute is our way of making the advantages of new "personalized medicine" readily available to the community we serve.

Please take the time to view our panel of distinguished practitioners.

The GMI is focused on four main initiatives:

Physician Education
Community Outreach and Education
Clinical Trials
Risk Assessment Programs

Physician Education

One of the institute's primary goals is to provide the medical staff at El Camino Hospital with information and resources about genetics and genetic testing. Genomics is an emerging field in which most practicing physicians have had little or no practical training. To help bridge this education gap, El Camino Hospital collaborated with the Genetic Alliance and the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) to develop a series of 10 physician workshops, known as "Medicine's Future: Genomics for Practicing Doctors."

We also provide physicians with effective tools and resources so they can explain genetic conditions, genetic tests, and the subsequent results to their patients in a meaningful manner. Our website features well-documented, practical information about a number of common genetic conditions and commonly used genetic tests. Our certified genetic counselor consults with and supports our physicians so they feel confident they are providing optimal care for their patients.

Community Outreach and Education

The GMI has developed a variety of tools and resources to help you learn more about genomics and how it can be used to improve your family's health. This website is one of those resources. Review the information here and consider accessing our new on-line Family Medical History Tool. It offers you a well-organized way to store, share and update your family health history.

The GMI also has a small office located on the first floor of the Melchor Pavilion on the hospital campus, right next to the coffee shop. You are welcome to stop in and ask questions or work on your family medical history at one of two computer work stations maintained for that purpose. In addition, a DNA Direct genetic counselor will offer on-site consultations by appointment for you upon referral from your physician.

Clinical Trials

Although the GMI was never intended to be a research institute, we find there is no lack of interest on the part of industry to work with our doctors in their real-world, community setting. Learn more about clinical trials.

Risk Assessment Programs

The GMI has partnered with both the Cancer Center and Women's Health Services at El Camino Hospital to offer a series of risk assessment programs designed to find mutation carriers for hereditary syndromes before disease occurs. The High-Risk Breast Assessment Tool is available in the Breast Health Center, using a well-validated tool developed by Kevin Hughes, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard and Co-Director of the Avon Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Hughes has developed a "risk application" that is loaded onto a tablet computer and completed by patients presenting for their screening mammogram. If family history indicates a high risk for the BRCA mutation, the patient and their referring physician will be notified and offered genetic counseling. If the counselor confirms the risk, the patient may then opt for genetic testing.

Genomic Medicine Institute Tools

Click this button to visit the Family Medical History Tool
Click to visit the dnaDirect Medco Patient Portal
Click this button if you are a physician

When you click these buttons, you will be taken to a website portal managed by our partner, DNAdirect. Read more about our partnership.

Logo of DNAdirect