February 9, 2017

Education is a key link in bringing genomic discoveries into patient care

By Sharon Rosen

Caer Rohrer Vitek, M.S.

When it comes to precision medicine, the learning never stops. Discoveries in genomic medicine are coming so quickly and regularly that medical students, trainees and practicing providers must continually stay abreast of new genomic discoveries in order to understand how these advances can impact the care they provide to patients.

“The huge challenge is that this is a fast-moving field. Every day new genetic variants are identified and published. That is where education programs designed to share the latest genomic discoveries with future and current physicians become so critical,” says Caer Rohrer Vitek, M.S., education operations manager for the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine (CIM).

Rohrer Vitek comments on the importance of education in implementing precision medicine discoveries in a recent article, Medical Students Learn How to Care for Patients at the Genetic Level, in Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) News.

Comprehensive programs for all levels of medical education

To meet the challenge of keeping medical professionals current on the integration of advances in precision medicine into patient care, CIM offers a full range of education and training programs.

Beginning with first and second year medical students in the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, the center offers education on a broad range of precision medicine topics, including  biomarker discovery, clinomics, epigenomics, microbiome and pharmacogenomics. Students learn how discoveries in these areas have already led to improved diagnosis and treatment for many types of cancer, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Jyothsna Giri

“This course includes tours of labs, discussions with leading scientists in the field and interaction with clinicians who are translating these findings into many areas of patient care. There is so much to cover, and we tell students that these sessions are only the tip of the iceberg,” says Mayo education specialist Jyothsna Giri, M.D.

In addition to its efforts with medical students,, the Center’s education programs are integrated into the curriculum for participants in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), students in the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and residents and fellows in the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education.

CIM’s education program is also helping practicing physicians and other providers bring the latest genomic discoveries to their patients.

Dr. Timothy Curry

“We have many tools to help physicians implement precision medicine in their practice. For example, we have developed guidelines for many medications that may have a drug-gene interaction. Clinical decision support for electronic prescribing is linked to education so that providers can learn about how a patient’s genes could impact their response to a specific medication. This helps doctors and other providers understand how to select the right drug for each patient, maximizing the drugs impact and minimizing side effects,” explains Timothy Curry, M.D., Ph.D., education medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.

Learn more about the center’s education programs

Learn more about precision medicine and join our community

Plan to attend Individualizing Medicine Conference 2017 on Oct. 9-11, 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, the conference brings together experts in all areas of precision medicine and provides attendees with practical applications of genomic medicine and ways to integrate precision medicine therapies into patient care.

Get the latest news from the Center for Individualized Medicine. Visit our blogFacebookLinkedIn or Twitter at @MayoClinicCIM.


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