Newswise — Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine has launched a Genomics and Predictive Health Certificate for master's and Ph.D. students focused on understanding and improving human health. This new certificate is one of only two such programs offered within Florida’s State University System, which will commence in the spring semester in 2020. Biomedical science master’s students and other graduate students will have opportunities to train in this emerging field through completion of an integrated set of genetics, genomics and predictive health courses.
Genomics and predictive health incorporates diverse areas of specialization that share a common goal and include anatomy, biochemistry, cell biology, clinical sciences, cognitive sciences, development, genetics, immunology, medical sciences, microbiology, molecular biology, pathology, pharmacology, psychology, among others. Precision medicine is an approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle.
“We are very excited about this new certificate program, which is a major step forward in our college’s strategic goal of leading innovation in the vital areas of genomics and precision medicine. Importantly, this educational program will provide the next generation of health professionals and scientists with the requisite skills they need to interpret and incorporate this new knowledge into a patient care model that emphasizes individually tailored prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Phillip Boiselle, M.D., dean of FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine.
Genomics and predictive health’s promise derives from the recent explosion in “big data health,” which reflects the variety and volume of information that is increasingly available. By using machine learning approaches to analyze the trends and patterns in the data, scientists have the ability to generate new hypotheses regarding the causal bases of diseases resulting in targeted treatments for individual patients. Predictive health goes one step further by leveraging the power of genomics and “big data” not only to treat, but to predict and prevent diseases.
“The lack of understanding of health providers and patients is a major barrier to the integration of genomics into personalized medicine. In coming to FAU, a major goal for me is to address this knowledge gap by introducing educational programming in this area, starting with this innovative certificate program in genomics and predictive health,” said Janet Robishaw, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research and chair of the Department of Biomedical Science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine.
The new certificate program covers advancements in the field of personalized medicine, DNA sequencing technologies, and commercial applications of genetics research. A minimum of 12 graduate credit hours of coursework will provide core experiences in the various predictive health domains – disease discovery, customized therapies, and prevention. The certificate program is administered by the Schmidt College of Medicine’s Graduate Program Office and requirements are designed to be tailored to the individual student with previous coursework and future goals in mind.
“Our Genomics and Predictive Health Certificate is part of the strategic initiatives of our Department of Biomedical Science to expand research, learning and training opportunities in predictive health,” said Marc Kantorow, Ph.D., assistant dean for graduate programs and a professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “Although the program is housed and administered within our Schmidt College of Medicine, faculty throughout Florida Atlantic University and other institutions will contribute to the program's success. We look forward to welcoming FAU biomedical science students, integrative biology biomedical science Ph.D. students and other students enrolled in programs at FAU who meet the pre-requisites for taking the courses in this new and exciting program.”
The Genomics and Predictive Health Certificate program is supervised by Boiselle, Robishaw, Kantorow and Bridget S. Smith, Ph.D., assistant director of graduate programs in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. The college also offers a Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Science.
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About the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine:
FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is one of approximately 152 accredited medical schools in the U.S. The college was launched in 2010, when the Florida Board of Governors made a landmark decision authorizing FAU to award the M.D. degree. After receiving approval from the Florida legislature and the governor, it became the 134th allopathic medical school in North America. With more than 70 full and part-time faculty and more than 1,300 affiliate faculty, the college matriculates 64 medical students each year and has been nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum. To further FAU’s commitment to increase much needed medical residency positions in Palm Beach County and to ensure that the region will continue to have an adequate and well-trained physician workforce, the FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Consortium for Graduate Medical Education (GME) was formed in fall 2011 with five leading hospitals in Palm Beach County. In June 2014, FAU’s College of Medicine welcomed its inaugural class of 36 residents in its first University-sponsored residency in internal medicine and graduated its first class of internal medicine residents in 2017.
About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.