Creation of a National, At-home Model for Ashkenazi Jewish Carrier Screening
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Ethnicity-based carrier screening for the Ashkenazi Jewish population has been available and encouraged by advocacy and community groups since the early 1970’s. Both the American College of Medical Genetics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend carrier screening for this population (Obstetrics and Gynecology, 114(4), 950–953, 2009; Genetics in Medicine, 10(1), 55–56, 2008). While many physicians inquire about ethnic background and offer appropriate carrier screening, studies show that a gap remains in implementing recommendations (Genetic testing and molecular biomarkers, 2011). In addition, education and outreach efforts targeting Jewish communities have had limited success in reaching this at-risk population. Despite efforts by the medical and Jewish communities, many Jews of reproductive age are not aware of screening, and remain at risk for having children with preventable diseases. Reaching this population, preferably pre-conception, and facilitating access to screening is critically important. To address this need, genetic counselors at Emory University developed JScreen, a national Jewish genetic disease screening program. The program includes a national marketing and PR campaign, online education, at-home saliva-based screening, post-test genetic counseling via telephone or secure video conferencing, and referrals for face-to-face genetic counseling as needed. Our goals are to create a successful education and screening program for this population and to develop a model that could potentially be used for other at-risk populations.
KeywordsJewish Genetic Carrier Screening Reproductive
Funding for the JScreen project was provided through a grant from The Marcus Foundation. We are grateful to Dr. Carlo Castellani for granting us permission to adapt knowledge questions from his work for our purposes.
Conflict of Interest
Authors Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, Patricia Zartman Page, Jessica L. Johnson, and Jessica Ginsburg declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Animal and Human Studies
No animal or human studies were carried out by the authors for this article.
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