Identification of genomic determinants of complex disorders such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease has prompted public health systems to focus on genetic service delivery for prevention of these disorders, adding to their previous efforts in birth defects prevention and newborn screening. This focus is consistent with previously identified obligations of the public health system as well as the core functions of public health identified by the Institute of Medicine. Models of service delivery include provision of services by the primary care provider in conjunction with subspecialists, provision of services through the medical home with co-management by genetics providers, provision of services in conjunction with disorder-specific treatment centers, and provision of services through a network of genetics clinics linked to medical homes. Whatever the model for provision of genetic services, tools to assist providers include facilities for outreach and telemedicine, information technology, just-in-time management plans, and emergency management tools. Assessment tools to determine which care is best are critical for quality improvement and development of best practices. Because the workforce of genetics providers is not keeping pace with the need for services, an understanding of the factors contributing to this lag is important, as is the development of an improved knowledge base in genomics for primary care providers.
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