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On May 4, 2017 the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GNA), formerly known as Bill S-201, was passed into law in Canada!

The Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) has developed an informative Fact Sheet highlighting important details for discussion among health care providers and patients.

Check it out here!

The GECKO website has many resources for healthcare providers, primary care providers and other non-genetics health professionals.  All products are expert reviewed, up-to-date and evidence-based.

Our understanding of the contribution of genetics to ill-health and disease is growing exponentially, providing many examples of the use of genetics knowledge and genetic tests in mainstream healthcare. These scientific and technological advances have changed the needs of practitioners, patients and the public. The growing number of genetic tests places increased demands on practitioners to provide up-to-date and relevant information to patients.

We have created PowerPoint presentations, found in the Education Modules menu, for a range of genetic and genomic topics to be used by educators and motivated learners.  All of these sessions have been delivered to primary care audiences by the GEC-KO team and the team has received very positive feedback. Each module is up-to-date, evidence-based and has accompanying resources such as a point of care tool, a GEC-KO on the run and/or a GEC-KO Messenger.  One can use, adapt and re-purpose these slides as required.

Current topics include:

  • Alzheimer disease (AD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder & Developmental Delay and Chromosomal Microarray (ASD & DD and CMA)
  • Direct to Consumer genetic testing (DTC)
  • Factor V Leiden (FVL)
  • Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HH)
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Lynch syndrome (LS) [hereditary colorectal cancer]
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

Upcoming topics include:

  • Prenatal Microarray
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Sorry that we’ve been a bit absent on our blog.  We’ve been busy on the road highlighting GEC-KO, our products and relevant genomic information across the nation.  Two weeks ago we were in beautiful Vancouver, BC at the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) and the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG) joint meeting.  We presented data from needs assessments we conducted of our primary stakeholders (primary care providers and genetics health professionals) to our genetics colleagues.  We were met with great excitement and support for our program!!  This past week were in la belle Quebec City, QC at the College of Family Physician Canada (CFPC) Family Medicine Forum (FMF).  We presented the genomics workshop ‘Untangling the helix: Genomics for primary care providers’ to a bright and engaged audience.  It was a fantastic turn out for an 8:30am, Saturday morning, last day of the conference time slot :)  This workshop was dense with content and point of care information and tools for primary care providers in a case-based format. We will be repeated this workshop at the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) Annual Scientific Assembly (ASA) in Toronto, ON on  Thursday November 27th, 2014 at 10:45am at the Hilton Toronto.  Please join us if you can!!  All of the Point of Care tools, GEC-KO on the runs and GEC-KO Messengers are available online now.  The Education Modules will be available after the ASA meeting – so be sure to come back!!  The topics are: factor V Leiden, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Alzheimer disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder/Developmental Delay and Multiple Sclerosis.  

For more up-to-date updates, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @GECKOgenetics!!

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing company, 23 and me, is now marketing its product in Canada. Check out the Globe and Mail article for more information on this news update.

While the data generated are reportedly “intended for informational purposes only” users of this service are told that “findings should always be discussed with a health professional.” What do you think this type of private testing could mean for our public healthcare system?  What do you think it could mean for personal healthcare?  

Tweet us @GECKOgenetics!

For more information on direct-to-consumer testing, check out our GEC-KO on the run.

You can now register for the 2014  Family Medicine Forum in beautiful Quebec City!  Early Bird Registration ends September 15th and saves 25% on registration fees!!  The conference runs from November 13-15th, 2014 with a pre-conference day on November 12th.  

Family Medicine Forum, or FMF, is Canada’s largest and most comprehensive annual conference for family physicians. This event is co-presented each fall by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and its Section of Teachers, Section of Researchers, and local host chapter. Attendees include CFPC member and non-member physicians, residents, international medical graduates, students, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals attend FMF

Now in its 14th year and continually growing, FMF focuses on providing its thousands of attendees with three days of practical and thought-provoking professional development via several streams of continuing professional development (CPD) sessions.

In addition, FMF offers many special scheduled events and other informal social opportunities to recharge and network with peers and colleagues.

This year, FMF is being co-hosted by the Collège québécois des médecins de famille (CQMF).

We are very excited to be participating again this year!! Come and join us for our seminar,Untangling the helix: genomics for primary care providers.  We will use a primary care case-based approach to discuss new advances in genomics and how they impact practice. Cases will include pediatrics (developmental delay/autism, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy/sudden death) and adult (Alzheimer disease, Factor V Leiden, multiple sclerosis) conditions.  There will be time for a question and answer session so bring your clinical genetics questions.   The seminar will be delivered by family physician, Dr. June Carroll, geneticist, Dr. Judith Allanson, and genetic counsellor, Ms.  Shawna Morrison.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from Canada’s premier family medicine conference on their website or follow their twitter account @FamilyMedForum.

We have just completed our Early Bird Registration for the 52nd Ontario College of Family Physicians’ (OCFP) Annual Scientific Assembly (ASA) in Toronto.

The OCFP ASA is a continuing professional development conference designed by family doctors, for family doctors. It includes sessions on current clinical and emerging primary care issues. Each year, the ASA conference brings together close to 1000 delegates including family physicians, residents, medical students, nurse practitioners and other health-care professionals from across the province.

We are very excited to be participating again this year!! Come and join us on Thursday November 27th, 2014 at 10:45am for our seminar, Untangling the helix: genomics for primary care providers.  We will use a primary care case-based approach to discuss new advances in genomics and how they impact practice. Cases will include pediatrics (developmental delay/autism, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy/sudden death) and adult (Alzheimer disease, Factor V Leiden, multiple sclerosis) conditions.  There will be time for a question and answer session so bring your clinical genetics questions.   The seminar will be delivered by family physician, Dr. June Carroll, geneticist, Dr. Judith Allanson, and genetic counsellor, Ms.  Shawna Morrison.

Register here!

We are very proud of GEC-KO’s own Dr. Judith Allanson who will be receiving the 2014 Founders Award from the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG).   This award is given to members of the CCMG who have made outstanding contributions to Canadian medical genetics.  The award is in recognition of an outstanding career in medical genetics in Canada or abroad.  Dr. Allanson will be receiving the reward at the 2014 CCMG meeting in Vancouver on Friday November 7th.  Additionally, earlier that day Dr. Allanson will be giving a talk about Genomics and Primary Care, highlighting some of GEC-KO’s research activities. 

Dr. Allanson’s research is focused on learning more about how we recognize differences in facial morphology, including the application of 2D and 3D photogrammetry. Her research also investigates how primary care providers use family history to interpret risk for a genetic disorder, and how they integrate genomic medicine into their practice. Dr. Allanson’s research goals are to engage and educate healthcare providers and the public in order to optimize the use of genomic medicine.

Dr. Allanson’s career-long research interests have focused on the evaluation of facial features and syndrome identification. She has a long-standing interest in the natural history and genotype-phenotype correlations of Noonan syndrome, a common condition caused by mutations in genes in the Ras-MAPK pathway. She is a member of research teams that focus on health services and health policy: how we evaluate genetic services; the understanding, perception and application of genetic knowledge by primary care providers; and the translation of gene discoveries into health benefits.

As we know, Dr. Allanson is passionate about genetics literacy. She is co-editor of a book on management of common genetic syndromes and co-founded and currently co-directs the new Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) funded resource: Genetics Education Canada – Knowledge Organization (GEC-KO).

Congratulations Dr. Allanson!!! It is a well-deserved honour!!!

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The GEC-KO team will be presenting at the 2021 University of Ottawa’s Annual Refresher Course

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Check out this 2022 article in Canadian Family Physician

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