Renown Health, a health network headquartered in Reno, Nevada, and Genome Medical, a telegenomics company, have joined forces to bring genetic counseling and educational services to individuals participating in the Health Nevada Project.

The Healthy Nevada Project is a community-based population health study that was launched by Renown and the Desert Research Institute in 2016. It seeks to bring together genetics, environmental data and individual health information with the goal of improving Nevadans’ health. The study, which led to the creation of the Renown Institute for Health Innovation, has enrolled, consented and collected DNA from about 35,000 individuals. The first phase of the project relied on services from 23andMe for DNA genotyping, and phase two is utilizing Helix’s proprietary Next Generation Sequencing technology.

Project participants receive genetic testing. Then, as part of this new partnership, select participants can get counseling and other genetic services from Genome Medical. The aim is to ensure patients with medically actionable results have the best means to understand the information and communicate it back to their primary care provider.

Via email, Genome Medical CEO Lisa Alderson explained that all Healthy Nevada Project participants “will initially be screened for genetic variants in ten genes related to Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome, Lynch syndrome and Familial hypercholesterolemia. Genome Medical will then return results where identified genetic variants predispose the individual to increased risk.”

The company has a virtual telehealth platform through which Healthy Nevada Project participants can connect with genetic specialists.

In a statement, Renown Health chief scientific officer Joseph Grzymski commented:

We believe returning results to participants is a critical part of this population health study. However, we know that just returning results isn’t enough. We are also here to help people understand their risks and take necessary next steps at the clinical level to help them live healthier lives. Genome Medical is the perfect partner to help us achieve this and spread the message that early detection of these CDC Tier 1 conditions will save lives.

Alderson seconded those thoughts. Since individuals can get results through Genome Medical’s specialists, they’re able to take steps to improve their health, she noted. And that’s the ultimate aim.

“Genome Medical and Renown Health are providing patients, and their physicians, with convenient access to genetic specialists in order to incorporate this essential information and take the appropriate actions in adjusting healthcare,” she said. “The implementation of genomic medicine into everyday care, to help individuals live healthier lives, is the goal of our partnership.”

Photo: Cecilie_Arcurs, Getty Images

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