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FOR RELEASE: April 1, 2003
Advances in Genetics Celebrated in April - Genetics Month in Oklahoma
Fifty years ago this month, James Watson and Francis Crick published what would be their Nobel Prize-winning description of the DNA double helix. This accomplishment began a body of research that has resulted in tremendous gains in genetic information, screening, treatment, and counseling.
In celebration of the advances in genetics prompted by Watson and Crick’s work, (first published in Nature on April 25, 1953), the Genetics Program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Genetics Advisory Council, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, has planned a month-long series of events leading up to National DNA Day on April 25. Local events are planned for the public, high school students, and for health care and legal professionals. Featured public events include:
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Web site has a list of all activities planned for the month. Visit the Web site at www.health.state.ok.us/program/gp and select DNA Day. (A list of events is included with this release.)
The Oklahoma State Department of Health Genetics Program, with support from the Oklahoma Genetics Advisory Council, is working to advance genetics in Oklahoma. Federal funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration provided resources for the development of a State Genetics Plan with subsequent funds for implementation. The State Genetics Plan is a five-year action plan designed to ensure all Oklahomans have access to quality and timely genetic information, screening, education, and family-centered comprehensive services. Education of the public and health care providers about genetics is a high priority. The state health department’s genetics program will continue to host genetic education events and develop the genetics program Web site to meet the needs of Oklahomans. The State Genetics Plan can be viewed at the OSDH Web site.
Oklahoma has been nationally recognized for its collaborative efforts with genetic stakeholders through the Oklahoma Genetics Advisory Council and its committees. Four major highlights of these efforts include: (1) the award of federal funds to the genetics program at over $1.3 million dollars, (2) significant infrastructure components achieved for the expansion of the public health newborn screening program for additional disorders that could save infants lives, (3) the establishment of a genetic counseling program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and (4) ever increasing basic and applied genetic research and education.
For more information about the Public Health Genetics Program in Oklahoma, contact Pam King, MPA, RN, State Genetics Coordinator at (405) 271-6617 or 1-800-766-2223. To schedule a presentation on genetics in your community, contact Amber Nolen, MS, CGC, State Genetics Education Coordinator, at the above numbers.
Sponsors of Oklahoma Genetics Month activities include the following:
April Genetics Month Activities
April 12 - May 30:
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