Public health genomics may be defined as the field of study where gene sequences can be used to benefit the society. With the knowledge of genes and their functions being known to the scientific world, one can put those stored and retrieved data to a great use to tackle public health challenges (Public health genomics, 2011). The rise of infectious and chronic diseases in the society has posed a serious threat in the process of optimization of public health care. In April 2003, the complete draft of human genome was published through the Human Genome Project, and that gave the insight into the genetic makeup of human beings (National Human Genome Research Institute, 2012). This paper aims to discuss the relevance of genomics to public health, its future impact, and ethical, legal, social issues associated with its use.
Need for genomics in Public health
The study of impact of genes, and their interaction with the environment is essential to learn about the health challenges. The rise in diseases, communicable and non-communicable; chronic and rapidly progressing, demonstrates the utmost need to know the genetic sequences of the pathogens and the individuals that may be affected (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). This has given rise to personalized medicine, with individual specific treatment for particular genes and ailments. The genomics may be used to tackle tougher disease challenges so, demands resource diversification and prioritization as against modifying behaviors for a better health care and disease prevention due to advanced translational scientific research in the area (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).
Public health and genetic informational ethical, legal, social issues (ELSI). ELSI includes the justice in the use of gene information, privacy and secrecy of genetic information, psycho-social impact due to genetic differences, reproductive and clinical issues, health and environmental issues, commercialization of products, etc. (genomics.energy.gov, 2012). The public health handles these issues by formulation of policies that regulate the usage of the information and prevents misuse (phg foundation, 2012). As a public health professional, one should be in complete command of the information available in the records and databases, the regulatory framework, the conduct code and the precautionary measures. Also the task is to make the community educated about the benefits of the program and therefore, encourage participation of the high-risk, low-risk and resistant individuals (Public Health Grand Rounds, 2012).
Integration of genomics into public health by Maryland Health Department
National Institute of Health, Maryland, has a great influence on the state health affairs, policy making, and effective work ethics. The use of genomics for collection, storage and retrieval of gene information has been fully integrated to study plants, animals, humans, pathogens, their interactions, the possible diseases, etc., and thus programs lay out to tackle eruption of any challenge (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2012).
Representation or non-representation of core functions of public health
The policies, assessment and assurance, the core functions are well represented by the proper public healthcare framework, regulatory policies and somehow, there could be misrepresentation as the misuse of data cannot be denied (Willis, 2008). The detection of opportunities and barriers in the way of integrating the genomics to public health at community and individual level may be a difficulty. There should be a distinct model for such problems. Again, there is a need for a high level partnership between the community, state, institutions, program managers, and public health officials.
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Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Public Health Genomics. Web.
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (2012). Key DHMH Links. Web.
National Human Genome Research Institute. (2012). All About The Human Genome Project (HGP). Web.
phg foundation. (2012). Genomics and policy news. Web.
Public health genomics. (2011). In Wikipedia. Web.
Public Health Grand Rounds. (2012). Genetics and Public Health: The Future is Now. Web.
Willis, E. (2008). Genomics and public health virtual issue information. Critical Public Health, 1-5. Web.