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Hands-on workshops kicking goals

Professionals discussing views and ideas at the workshop

More than 75 professionals recently attended two of Melbourne Genomics now-signature ‘hands-on’ professional workshops.

Clinical and laboratory professionals participated in a two-day intensive session on variant curation during April, while a workshop facilitated by Stanford University’s Professor Kelly Ormond in late May focused on genetic counselling for additional genomic findings.

Co-ordinator of the Alliance’s workforce development program, Fiona Cunningham, affirms that the immersive workshop model is proving highly effective in arming professionals with the knowledge, skills and confidence to apply genomics in healthcare.

“These facilitated, highly participatory sessions provide opportunities for professionals to absorb and practice new skills, and support each other in their learning. Importantly, participants tell us that they are able to apply this new knowledge in their work.”

The variant curation workshop focused on improving skills and knowledge in interpreting exactly which variants in the genome may be responsible for a patient’s medical condition. It is painstaking work – and largely done by highly trained human minds (not computers).

Professor Kelly Ormond is Co-Director of Stanford’s Master of Science program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counselling, and has dealt extensively with the counselling of patients around ‘additional’ genomic findings. Additional findings relate to genomic information about other conditions that could affect a patient’s health.

Kirsty West, Associate Genetic Counsellor at The Royal Melbourne Hospital commented: “It was great to be able learn from Kelly and other experienced genetic counsellors. My colleagues and I discussed afterwards that the strategies practised will be beneficial in many genetic counselling settings.”

“I hope that sharing my experience was helpful. I enjoyed all the discussions and look forward to seeing the data collected from participants,” Professor Ormond said.

To date, the Alliance has directly involved more than 400 professionals across the Victorian healthcare system, and has provided continuing professional development to more than 800 individuals.

[Image: Participants at the Additional Genomic Findings workshop, facilitated by Professor Ormond]