Health equity in the implementation of genomics and precision medicine: A public health imperative

Genet Med. 2022 Aug;24(8):1630-1639. doi: 10.1016/j.gim.2022.04.009. Epub 2022 Apr 28.


Recent reviews have emphasized the need for a health equity agenda in genomics research. To ensure that genomic discoveries can lead to improved health outcomes for all segments of the population, a health equity agenda needs to go beyond research studies. Advances in genomics and precision medicine have led to an increasing number of evidence-based applications that can reduce morbidity and mortality for millions of people (tier 1). Studies have shown lower implementation rates for selected diseases with tier 1 applications (familial hypercholesterolemia, Lynch syndrome, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) among racial and ethnic minority groups, rural communities, uninsured or underinsured people, and those with lower education and income. We make the case that a public health agenda is needed to address disparities in implementation of genomics and precision medicine. Public health actions can be centered on population-specific needs and outcomes assessment, policy and evidence development, and assurance of delivery of effective and ethical interventions. Crucial public health activities also include engaging communities, building coalitions, improving genetic health literacy, and building a diverse workforce. Without concerted public health action, further advances in genomics with potentially broad applications could lead to further widening of health disparities in the next decade.

Keywords: Genomics; Health equity; Precision medicine; Public health genomics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity
  • Genomics
  • Health Equity*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Precision Medicine
  • Public Health