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Public Health Genetics

Over the past decade, dramatic advances in genomics have paved the way for a fuller understanding of the impact of genetic and environmental factors on human and population health. Such capabilities must however, be put into scientific, ethical, cultural, legal and policy context in order to realize the goal of improving population health. Through its research and training programs the Institute for Public Health Genetics (IPHG) provides the context for these discoveries and also equips graduates to tackle the complex ethical, legal, policy and social issues that are required to fully realize the benefits of these advances on population health. Our faculty and graduates are working locally, nationally and globally to ensure that health benefits from genomic knowledge are maximized and harms are minimized.

Public Health Genetics Research

A new fund was announced in November 2012, and made possible by a generous gift from former UW SPH Dean, Gilbert Omenn, MD, Ph.D, and his wife, Martha Darling. The gift will be used to fund interdisciplinary research on interactions between genetic and environmental factors, and at the same time addressing the ethical, legal and social issues that are required to translate research findings into actionable steps to improve population health.

Graduate Programs

Over the past 15 years, the IPHG faculty has established a vital and highly regarded graduate training program that remains the only one of its kind. We offer four unique interdisciplinary graduate degrees: Ph.D. and MPH in Public Health Genetics (PHG), an MS in Genetic Epidemiology, and a concurrent JD/MPH in PHG. Students enrolled in other UW graduate programs can earn a Graduate Certificate in PHG. Each of these programs has served as the standard in integrating scientific advancements with a broader interdisciplinary dialogue.

All IPHG degree programs emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to using genomic advances to improve population health. Graduates of the program will have a unique set of skills that qualifies them for a range of career options, including employment in academia, government, industry, and not-for-profit organizations. To find out more or apply to our programs please browse our website or contact us for more information phgen@uw.edu.

Undergraduate Course Offerings

The IPHG has been a pioneer in interdisciplinary education at the graduate level, and we are excited to offer two undergraduate courses to UW students: PHG 200 (Implications of Public Health Genomics for the Modern World), PHG 301 (Intro to Genetic Epidemiology), and PHG 302 (Forensic Genetics).

Autumn 2014 General Ed. Undergraduate Course Offering

PHG 200 - Implications of Public Health Genomics for the Modern World (3) I&S/NW
Introduces the field of public health genomics through examples of genetic, ethical, political, and social issues emerging in the wake of the Human Genome Project. Students develop the skills to analyze and critique public health, clinical, personal, and social implications resulting from emerging genomic technologies. MW 2:30 - 3:30, and F 1:30 - 2:30 OR 2:30 - 3:30.

Autumn Seminar Series

PHG 580 - Interactive Seminar Series
This Seminar Series offers an opportunity to engage with experts from a variety of disciplines, to consider possible research or practicum opportunities, and to participate in interdisciplinary discussion around issues central to public health genetics.  This is a required course for all PHG PhD, MPH, and Certificate students, and recommended but not required for MSGE students.  PHG 580 is open to any UW graduate student. 

WINTER 2015 Undergraduate Course Offering

PHG 302 - Forensic Genetics (3) I&S/NW/QSR
Introduces the field of forensic genetics through discussion of genetic and statistical issues emerging since the introduction of DNA profiling. Students develop the skills to interpret the evidence of matching genetic profiles, to perform calculations relevant for parentage determination and the identification of remains, and to consider the implications of familial searching of DNA databases. Prerequisite: any one of: BIOST 310, STAT 220, STAT 221, STAT 311, QSCI 381, or QMETH 201.