Understanding Disparities in Access to Genomic Medicine: Proceedings of a Workshop

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2018 Nov 14.


Genomic medicine is defined as the routine use of genomic information about an individual as part of his or her clinical care as well as the health outcomes and policy implications of that clinical use. It is one approach that has the potential to improve the quality of health care by allowing practitioners to tailor prevention, diagnostic, and treatment strategies to individual patients. In recent years, research breakthroughs, technological advances, and the decreasing cost of DNA sequencing have led to the wider adoption of genomic medicine. However, as with the introduction of new technologies into health care, there are concerns that genetic and genomic testing and services will not reach all segments of the population both now and in the near future, and there remains a gap in knowledge regarding potential health care disparities in genomic medicine and precision health approaches. On June 27, 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a public workshop to examine the gaps in knowledge related to access to genomic medicine and to discuss health care disparities and possible approaches to overcoming the disparate use of genomic medicine among populations. Workshop participants discussed research on access to genetics and genomics services in medically underserved areas, model programs of care for diverse patient populations, and current challenges and possible best practices for alleviating health care disparities as they relate to genomics-based approaches. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

This project was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and 23andMe (unnumbered contract); Accenture (Contract No. 6000020406); Air Force Medical Service (Contract No. FA8052-17-P-0007); American Academy of Nursing (unnumbered contract); American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (unnumbered contract); American Medical Association (unnumbered contract); Association for Molecular Pathology (unnumbered contract); Biogen (unnumbered contract); Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (unnumbered contract); College of American Pathologists (unnumbered contract); Color Genomics (unnumbered contract); Counsyl (unnumbered contract); Department of Veterans Affairs (Contract No. VA240-14-C-0037); Eisai Inc. (unnumbered contract); Geisinger (unnumbered contract); Genosity (unnumbered contract); Health Resources and Services Administration (Contract No. HHSH250201500001I/ HHSH25034003T/0003); Illumina, Inc. (unnumbered contract); Janssen Research & Development, LLC (unnumbered contract); Kaiser Permanente (Contract No. 20642915); Marc Grodman (unnumbered contract); Merck & Co., Inc. (Contract No. CMO-180815-002787); National Institutes of Health (Contract No. HHSN263201200074I; Task Order No. HHSN26300066): National Cancer Institute, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute on Aging, and Office of Disease Prevention; National Society of Genetic Counselors (unnumbered contract); Northrop Grumman Health IT (unnumbered contract); Pfizer Inc. (unnumbered contract); Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (unnumbered contract); and The University of Vermont Medical Center and The University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group (unnumbered contract). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.