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Genomic education (continuing)..!

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The team that develops and deploys education activities for Melbourne Genomics continues to deliver its work – online, remotely and in new, creative formats.

In the past fortnight, the latest cohort of students commenced the Clinical Genome Variant Analysis subject, part of The University of Melbourne’s Master of Genomics and Health. While in previous years the course was delivered in a ‘blended’ mode – combining online content and face-to-face workshops – the COVID-19 situation has led to a wholly online format this year.

“As with everyone, we’ve had to respond rapidly to change the mode of delivery,” commented subject lecturer and Melbourne Genomics Head of Innovation and Technology, Dr Natalie Thorne. “The team has converted all face-to-face educational delivery to online and is facilitating video-conference workshops using break-out rooms for small group work. We continue to provide students with hands-on, case-based learning, which has proved to be essential to gaining knowledge and skills in variant interpretation.”

An online workshop on variant interpretation was also presented to 43 clinical geneticists and clinical genetics fellows from across Australia and New Zealand for the Australasian Association of Clinical Geneticists.

“Clinical geneticists and trainees joined the workshop from around Australia and New Zealand – from Perth to Auckland, Wellington, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Hunter Valley. It was a great opportunity to share the skills and knowledge on variant interpretation that we have learned through Melbourne Genomics – the challenging process of working out exactly which gene change is driving a patient’s medical condition,” said clinical geneticist Associate Professor Tiong Tan, who presented at the workshop alongside Dr Thorne and Dr Sebastian Lunke, Head of Genetics and Genomics at Victorian Clinical Genetics Services.

In late February, a team from Melbourne Genomics was invited to visit Canberra to run an education workshop on genomics for staff at the Federal Department of Health. The invitation came after a Department of Health representative attended the Melbourne Genomics Genomics in the Clinic blended-learning short course for clinicians last year.

“We were asked to present on the different types of genomic tests, when and how they are used in clinical settings, test limitations and ongoing developments in technology. The group was also interested in the evidence of value for clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness, and especially in hearing direct from the clinicians involved,” explained Melbourne Genomics Clinical Project Manager, Elly Lynch.

The hands-on workshop featured group discussions on case studies highlighting the impact of genomics on patient care, as well as laboratory considerations and health economic analysis demonstrating system efficiencies to be gained. The presenting team included Flagship leaders Associate Professor Sue White (Complex Care in Children) and Associate Professor Paul James (Dilated Cardiomyopathy), Flagship clinician Dr Kortnye Smith (Advanced Solid Cancers), laboratory leader Dr Sebastian Lunke, in addition to members of the Melbourne Genomics Program team.

Please note: the Genomics in the Clinic workshop for clinicians in endocrinology and metabolic medicine, originally scheduled for April, has been postponed.
Content for this workshop is still being developed, and will be deployed at a later date.

In the meantime, professional learning resources in genomics are available online at: learn-genomics.org.au

[Image: Glenn Carstens, Unsplash]