Developing educational programs to deliver precision medicine in Canada

Next week on HCLDR we welcome another set of guest hosts from Canada – the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders @CCHL_CCLS and David Anderson, PhD @DaveAnd75644259 They will lead us in a discussion on the topic of precision medicine – specifically how it can be better incorporated into medical education and healthcare in general.

Please join them Tuesday May 19th at 8:30pm ET (questions below).


Anderson is a Child Health and Wellness Researcher in the Child Health Data Science Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, as well as an Instructor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary.

Anderson’s article is part of a themed edition of Healthcare Management Forum, the official journal of the Canadian College of Health Leaders, on precision medicine. According to the Guest Editor of that edition, Dawn Waterhouse, PhD, the Research Business Manager for Island Health, the term precision medicine is a step back from truly personalized medicine. The word “personalized” indicates something that is specifically created for the use of a single individual, but “precision” medicine builds on the idea that there are shared attributes within defined groups of people and that it is possible to develop treatments and prevention strategies that target those attributes. For example, blood transfusion is based on an understanding of a person’s blood type and is an early example of a precision medicine approach rather than a personalized approach. She asserts that, for precision medicine to become embedded in routine care, health leaders need to educate themselves about molecular genetics, biochemistry, and genetics.

The question then becomes, how do health leaders learn what is required to harness the potential of this field? How do they best support their patients and staff when making decisions around precision health tools? For example, family doctors are routinely asked questions about direct to consumer testing platforms (such as 23andMe) but they often lack the background in genomics to be able to confidently assess those results and help interpret what they mean for their patients. As another example, pharmacists are often asked questions related to variability in drug efficacy and tolerability without having the information they need to tailor the treatment for an individual based on their genetic information. They need training on the principles of pharmacogenomics, its limitations, and application in clinical practice.

Anderson asserts that health leaders will need to work with many stakeholders (eg, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, patients, and the patients’ families) from a variety of different backgrounds and varying ability levels to develop successful education programs. He and his co-authors have researched how to better align the universities, health agencies, facility administrators, and the professionals who deliver primary care.

Join Anderson and the Canadian College of Health Leaders as they guest host the next #hcldr weekly chat on Tuesday May 19th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here). We will be discussing the following questions:

  • T1 Medical education has been slow to adapt to new advances (like precision medicine). Should this be a priority and if so, how might it actually be incorporated?
  • T2 What responsibility do health leaders have to incorporate precision medicine (and other modern approaches) into educational programs?
  • T3 What role do patients play in the development of educational programs about precision medicine?
  • T4 Do you have examples of successful education programs about precision medicine

David Anderson’s full article can be found here (in the May edition of Healthcare Management Forum) until May 20:

Image Credit

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

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