Genome Medical’s Scott Weissman (far left), Angie Inlow (second from right) and Greg Werchowski (far right) join colleagues from the Healthy Nevada Project and Helix at the event announcing the Southern Nevada expansion of Healthy Nevada
By Angie Inlow, Vice President of Business Development (Western U.S.)
What is the Healthy Nevada Project?
The Healthy Nevada Project is led by the Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI) and is a partnership between Renown Health and Desert Research Institute. It was launched in September 2016 as one of the first community-based population health studies in the United States. Under the program, researchers and physicians are using genetics, environmental data and individual health information to empower providers with a targeted approach to personal health care and treatment, in turn improving the overall health and well-being of people in the local communities.
Genome Medical’s Role with the Healthy Nevada Project
Genome Medical was chosen by the Healthy Nevada Project to provide genetic counseling and other genetic services to select participants in this groundbreaking community-based population study. This is one of the largest population health initiatives using genetics and is an important study because it is designed to lead to early detection of highly actionable genetic findings.
In partnership with Healthy Nevada and the Desert Research Institute, Genome Medical is spearheading a new and proactive communications model for returning test results to patients and providing comprehensive patient support.
What do the participants of the Healthy Nevada Project Receive?
Participants in the program will receive notification of their risk for CDC Tier 1 conditions including familial hypercholesterolemia, BRCA positive 1 and 2, and Lynch syndrome, a precursor to colon cancer. These conditions affect approximately one to two percent of the population and are inherited so they impact family members as well. For individuals identified, there are clear clinical actions that can be taken for risk reduction and early detection. These are all cases where early detection is extremely important as it leads to improved health for the individual.
Under the program, patients as well as their physicians receive convenient access to Genome Medical genetic specialists to address any concerns and to incorporate this essential information and take appropriate actions in adjusting health care. This is made possible through our virtual telehealth platform, which connects study participants directly with genetic specialists.
The expansion of the Healthy Nevada Project
The program began as an initial outreach to participants in the Reno area, where approximately 35,000 individuals have already enrolled and provided DNA samples. It is a first-of-its-kind approach for assessing genetic testing results and providing patients with counseling services that support and guide them on their genomic health journeys.
An expansion of the program into the Las Vegas area was announced in May, with spots for an additional 25,000 study volunteers being opened up. Genome Medical’s network of leading clinical genetics specialists is supporting the return of results for these participants as well.
As stated by Joseph Grzymski, PhD, chief scientific officer of Renown Health, associate research professor at Desert Research Institute and principal investigator of the Health Nevada Project. "We believe returning results to participants is a critical part of this population health study. However, we know that just returning results isn't enough. We are also here to help people understand their risks and take necessary next steps at the clinical level to help them live healthier lives. Genome Medical is the perfect partner to help us achieve this and spread the message that early detection of these CDC Tier 1 conditions will save lives."
Together we can improve the health and wellness of our community by empowering patients and their clinical providers with actionable information. This is one of the key reasons I joined Genome Medical. I want to make an impact.
We are honored to be a part of this important project and hope this will serve as a model for large scale research programs to return genetic information to participants.