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Education workshops impact nationally

Melbourne Genomics’ leadership in upskilling the medical workforce in genomics is having an impact around the country, with two national workshops – in cancer variant curation and for hearing loss professionals – held recently in Queensland.

The Alliance’s highly sought-after variant curation workshops stepped up to a new level in March, with our largest ever workshop of 63 participants from across Australia. In partnership with Queensland Genomics, the two-day National Somatic Curation Workshop focused on teaching the process of variant classification, and its utility in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cancer, to clinicians and medical scientists.

Genomics has the potential to improve diagnosis and treatment through identification of disease-causing genetic variants.

“Our national workshop demonstrates how demand for variant curation training continues to grow. At the Brisbane workshop, we were able to combine Melbourne Genomics’ pioneering development and delivery of variant curation education with Queensland Genomics’ enthusiasm to support this training for a national audience,” said Dr Natalie Thorne, Lead Specialist for Clinical Genomics.

“It was a great team effort and I commend everyone involved for a fantastic collaboration and working together to make this event a huge success,” Dr Thorne said.

David Bunker, Executive Director of Queensland Genomics said: “This workshop is an example of the Genomics Health Alliances at work in Australia and demonstrates the benefits of partnering with others to deliver value.”

Photos: Courtesy Queensland Genomics











Meanwhile, health professionals from across Australia in the field of hearing loss now have improved understanding of how genomics is impacting healthcare, following a Melbourne Genomics national workshop.

The workshop, Hearing it in the genes, was held at the Australasian Newborn Hearing Screening Conference (ANHS) in Queensland, on Thursday 21 March.

The workshop was enthusiastically received by participants, who came from around Australia and internationally. The session was a partnership between Melbourne Genomics key educators Dr Fran Maher and Elly Lynch, and our Congenital Deafness project clinicians and researchers Dr Valerie Sung, Dr Lilian Downie, Professor David Amor and genetic counsellor Anna Jarmolowicz.

The workshop was designed specifically for clinicians and trainees practising in childhood hearing impairment, to improve understanding of the potential benefits and uses of genomics in their clinical practice.

Dr Sung said holding the workshop as part of a national conference enabled Melbourne Genomics to reach a much wider audience: “This was an opportunity to reach both clinicians and non-clinicians who work with children with hearing loss, to gain an understanding of how genomics is impacting their field of healthcare. This is a key part of educating the healthcare workforce in readiness for the implementation of genomics into healthcare.”

Dr Sung said the conference had attracted a large number of medical professionals, and she attributed this high level of interest to the Melbourne Genomics workshop. Although the workshop was initially expected to attract mostly clinicians, the session – which was a full house – reached a wide audience, including paediatricians, registrars, academics, government medical officers, audiologists and hearing screeners.

Workshop participants enthusiastically responded to the event, noting that it improved their understanding of genomics in practice, as well as commenting that the use of a workshop format was highly beneficial.

















Photos, above: Hearing it in the genes workshop, Australasian Newborn Hearing Screening Conference

Main photo, top right: Courtesy of Queensland Genomics (L-R) Dr Natalie Thorne (Melbourne Genomics), Ain Roseley (Peter Mac) and a workshop participant.