Susan Wolf on NPR’s Science Friday on whole genome scans
Consortium Founding Chair Susan Wolf appeared on NPR’s Science Friday on June 7 to discuss issues raised by whole genome sequencing. The program focused on the huge quantity of information such sequencing can reveal, including incidental findings. Prof. Wolf raised concerns about recent recommendations by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) that urge laboratories to look for 57 extra incidental findings whenever sequencing is performed and call for physicians to share the findings with patients, even if the patient does not want the extra testing or the results. Prof. Wolf co-authored an article in the May 31 issue of Science critiquing the ACMG guidelines and urging the importance of respecting patient autonomy in clinical genomics.
Listen to Prof. Wolf on Science Friday.
Read the Science article.
Joint Degree Program sweeps writing competition
We're proud to announce that the Consortium's Joint Degree Program alum Pari McGarraugh
and students Ally Whelan
and Grace Fleming
, took first, second, and third prizes, respectively, in the Minnesota State Bar Association's student writing competition. Please read their winning papers:
McGarraugh's "Implied Certification Under the False Claims Act: Crafting Appropriate Limits"
Whelan's "Partly Cloudy: Why the Physician Payment Sunshine Act Will Not Result in More Informed Patients"
Susan Wolf publishes in Science on gene sequencing debate
(5/16/2013) Science has just published online ahead of print an article by Consortium Founding Chair Susan Wolf, George J. Annas (Boston University), and Sherman Elias (Northwestern University) on a major controversy over how to handle incidental findings in medical genomic sequencing. Their article on “Patient Autonomy and Incidental Findings in Clinical Genomics” argues that the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) made a serious mistake when it issued a practice statement in March insisting that clinical sequencing for any medical indication should add analysis of 57 extra genes to look for disease-causing variants, even if the patient does not want this and even if the patient is a child. Wolf et al. argue that the ACMG statement and its subsequent “clarification” in April reject long-established legal and ethical principles of patient autonomy and the “right not to know” unwanted genetic information. Wolf’s article is accompanied by a response from Amy McGuire (Baylor College of Medicine) and colleagues, entitled “Ethics and Genomic Incidental Findings.” Two of those authors were co-authors of the March ACMG statement.
How can aerobic exercise lower breast cancer risk?
It's well documented that exercise can decrease the risk of breast cancer, but how? Clinical evidence suggests that changes in estrogen metabolism in premenopausal women may play a part. Mindy Kurzer, director of Consortium member Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, was part of a recent study investigating this relationship. Results show that in healthy premenopausal women "an exercise regimen of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise per week for 16 weeks resulted in significant changes in estrogen metabolism in a direction consistent with reduction of breast cancer risk." Read the paper in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Susan Wolf publishes new book on end-of-life care
Oxford University Press has just published a new book by Nancy Berlinger, Bruce Jennings, and Consortium Founding Chair Susan Wolf
on termination of life-sustaining treatment and care of the dying. This book is the result of a 5-year process involving experts from across the country to revise and substantially expand The Hastings Center’s groundbreaking guidelines on end-of-life care first published in 1987. Wolf served as principal author of those guidelines, used and cited widely, including by Justice O’Connor in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Cruzan
decision. The new guidelines address death and dying in an era of health care reform and the book now considers end-of life care for children, the role of disability, advances in palliative care, plus debates over assisted suicide and euthanasia. Learn more
about The Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life
, 2d ed. (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2013).
Kudos to our students!
Friends, family, faculty, students, and affiliates of the Joint Degree Program gathered on April 18 for a reception in recognition of JDP students who are expected to complete both their degrees this spring or summer. Interim director Hari Osofsky, School of Public Health dean John Finnegan, and founding director Susan Wolf sang their praises and helped send the students off into the next stage of their lives. Best wishes to Sara Koehring and to (left to right in the photo) Ashley Zborowsky, Pari McGarraugh, Rick Weinmeyer, Heather Baird, Mike Schubert, Anne Dwyer, David Hanna, and Joe Dammel.
Michael Osterholm receives distinguished teaching award
School of Public Health professor and Consortium Executive Committee member Michael Osterholm is a 2013 recipient of the University of Minnesota Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.
Winners of the award are inducted into the University’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers, a program of the Office for Academic Affairs and Provost that promotes excellence in teaching and learning. Congratulations, Prof. Osterholm!
ALI awards Amy Monahan Young Scholars Medal
JDP-affiliated faculty and MJLST Faculty Editorial Advisory Board member Amy Monahan was awarded a Young Scholars Medal by the American Law Institute.
Monahan, Law School professor and Solly Robins Distinguished Research Fellow, focuses her research on employer-provided health care, health insurance regulation, and public and private retirement plans. She was appointed to an Institute of Medicine committee instrumental in developing the final essential health benefits package of the Affordable Care Act.
"Amy has rapidly established herself as one of the country's top scholars in health policy and employee benefits law," says David Wippman, dean of the Law School. "She's also a terrific teacher and colleague and richly deserves the Young Scholars Medal."
Genomics Center helps identify new genes
Consortium member University of Minnesota Genomics Center (UMGC) has collaborated to identify a number of new genes associated with idiopathic interstitial pneumonia (IIP), a serious and often fatal lung disease with a poorly understood cause. These findings were recently published in Nature Genetics. "The UMGC specializes in very high-throughput population genotyping, and helped to get the work done quickly,” says Kenneth Beckman, PhD, director of the Genomics Center.