What is Public Health Genetics?

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Public health genetics applies genetic and genomic information to improve public health and prevent disease.

Family Health History- A Public Health Genetics Week Case Study

Family health history is a record of the diseases and health conditions in your family.” (CDC) Having family members with certain health conditions might make you more likely to develop those conditions yourself. By collecting information about your family’s health history, your healthcare provider can use this information to better understand what conditions you might be more likely to develop, which can inform your care. Your doctor might recommend that you start certain screenings at an earlier age. In some cases, your doctor might refer you for genetic counseling and testing based on your family history.

Throughout Public Health Genetics Week 2022, we will be highlighting family health history. Learn more about family health history by checking back each day of the week or read our Family Health History Comic Strip.

Programs that make up public health genetics include, but are not limited to: educating healthcare providers, patients and their families, the general public, and policymakers on genetics; providing genetic services (such as newborn screening or cancer screening); providing guidance on laws and regulations that affect individuals with genetic conditions; and much more.

Highlighted below is the framework for public health genetics. Additionally, we have included resources that further describe public health and genetics.

Closed captioning is available in English and Spanish.

Public Health Genetics Framework

Adapted from ASTHO’s “Framework for Public Health Genetics Policies and Practices in State and Local Public Health Agencies”. View the framework here.

Public Health and Genetics 101

Interested in learning more about public health or genetics? Check out some great resources below.

Public Health

Public health is “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public, and private communities, and individuals” – CEA Winslow (CDC)

From the CDC.

Learn more:

  • Public Health 101 Series (CDC)
  • Public Health Key Terms (CDC)
  • What is Public Health? (APHA)


Genetics is “a branch of biology that deals with heredity and variation of organisms”. (Merriam-Webster)

Learn more:


Genomics is “the study of the entire genome (all of a person’s genes) and the interaction of these genes with each other and with the person’s environment.” (Genome.gov)

Learn more:

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