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Workshops provide practical learning experiences

A key priority for Melbourne Genomics is building professional knowledge in areas including genome interpretation (variant curation), genetic counselling and patient support.

In a Victorian-first, health and patient advocates are invited to attend a half-day workshop on genomics in healthcare, an initiative of the Melbourne Genomics Community Advisory Group.

The workshop will better support advocates and their networks with information needed to respond to questions about genomic testing and genomic medicine. To be held on 4 December, the event will feature a series of talks, followed by small discussion groups and Q&As with professionals on-the-ground: clinical geneticists, genetic counsellors, genome interpreters, as well as experts in areas such as genomic data, and ethical, legal and social (ELSI) issues.

Community Advisory Group member Louisa Di Pietro said health and patient advocates had identified genomic knowledge as an area of strong need to better support their networks and empower them to adapt to change.

“At the end of this workshop, attendees will be equipped with a better understanding of what genomics is, what tests are available, what the different types of tests tell us and how to access them. This will arm advocates with the knowledge to support their communities who are asking questions about genomic testing and becoming increasingly aware of the systemic, clinic and psychosocial considerations attached to its broader application in health,” Ms Di Pietro said. 

Melbourne Genomics’ variant curation workshops continue to experience high demand, with a recent session focusing on cancer fully booked in less than 24 hours. The workshop provided presentations and practical sessions with case studies on all aspects of cancer variant curation – from clinical application, to variant curation and reporting. A Melbourne Genomics variant curation workshop was also recently held in Brisbane, in partnership with Queensland Genomics.

Meanwhile, genetic counsellors attended a fully-booked workshop featuring international guest Prof Jon Weil (esteemed author of the must-have textbook, Psychosocial Genetic Counseling) as part of a practical session focusing on core skills in the genomic era. This followed a successful upskilling workshop for genetic counsellors in September, on understanding genomic variants.

Other upcoming professional development opportunities include a workshop focusing on health economic analysis of genomics being presented in collaboration with Royal Melbourne Hospital – Showcasing the value of genomics: health economic analyses to support research and decision-making in genomics  in late November – and a Melbourne Genomics Symposium being planned for early 2019.

Workshop registration

Understanding genomics: Empowering patient advocates

Showcasing the value of genomics

[Image: Prof Jon Weil (right) with  Melbourne Genomics Clinical Program Manager, Elly Lynch, and genetic counsellor Jane Wallace]