The public health genetics and genomics system is made up of many different types of professionals. Professionals can range from individuals who studied public health or genetics to people who studied business, economics, policy, or more! To help you better understand the educational backgrounds of those that specifically study public health and/or genetics, click below to learn about educational programs. Also listed below is a repository of articles to help you better understand public health genetics and genomics education!
Public health professionals are trained through a multi-disciplinary approach to be qualified to address population health concerns. When obtaining a Masters of Public Health, an individual selects to study a specific focus area within population health. The areas of study include: behavioral and social science; biostatistics and informatics; community health; environmental health; epidemiology; global health; health policy and management; health promotion and communication; maternal and child health; and minority health and health disparities.
Concentrating in any of these studies can lead to a role in public health genetics. For example, individuals who study maternal and child health could work within newborn screening or someone who studies health policy and management could work on genetics healthcare policy concerns.
In addition to these concentrations, there a few public health programs in the country that have a specific focus on human genetics. Click on the logos to learn more.
According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), “genetic counselors have advanced training in medical genetics and counseling to guide and support patients seeking more information about how inherited diseases and conditions might affect them or their families, and to interpret genetic test results based on your personal and family history.”
Genetic counselors typically complete a two-year Master’s program. To learn more about genetic counseling programs, visit the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling’s Program Directory.
MDs/DOs are an integral part of the public health genetics team. Geneticist (those who are an MD and receive training in medical genetics) see patients and their families with genetic conditions. Beyond the geneticist, MDs of almost any specialty can touch genetics. Primary care physicians see and treat patients with genetic conditions, oncologist may order genetic testing for individuals who certain types of cancer, or neurologist may order genetic testing for patients presenting with development delay.
To learn more about becoming a geneticist, visit the American Board of Medical Genetics or to learn more about the role of an MD, visit the American Medical Association.