What is Public Health Genetics?

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

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.

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

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)

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

From the CDC.


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

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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)

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