In 1997, the CDC established the Office of Public Health Genomics dedicated to the effective and responsible translation of genome-based science to improve population health in the United States. At that time, a new era of personalized healthcare seemed around the corner. However, the promise of the Human Genome Project was mixed with unrealistic expectations.
The public health community called for a scientific approach to explore the balance of benefits and harms of the new science. A major achievement for public health genomics has been to make these concerns central to the dialogue among the basic, clinical and public health-related scientific communities. Public health genomics also has begun to prepare the workforce for integrating new tools in practice and for integrating genomics in public health’s essential functions.
So where are we after 17 years of public health genomics? There are 5 main areas of ongoing progress in public health genomics, where emerging information is making a real impact on improving health and preventing disease in populations: