The field of medical genetics is swiftly evolving. It’s a period of rapid scientific discovery, new technologies and subsequent translation into medical practice, public policy and public health. But what role should the Medical Genetics specialist have since genetics impacts all patients and specialties in some way? In an effort to clearly define the changing role of the specialty of Medical Genetics and the distinction between Medical Geneticists and other genetics healthcare professionals, the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) has released a new ‘Scope of Practice of the Specialty of Medical Genetics’ document, revising its earlier 2008 Policy Statement. The ACMG is the specialty society for the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics diplomates and others, providing leadership and resources to facilitate the delivery of clinical and laboratory medical genetics services.
ACMG President Gerald Feldman, MD, PhD, FACMG said, ‘We wanted to clearly define the value that board-certified Clinical Geneticists and Clinical Laboratory Geneticists provide, from their roles performing genetic testing interpretation in the diagnostic laboratory to the medical genetics consultation. The ACMG Scope of Practice document also establishes how our specialty interacts with other members of the medical genetics healthcare team and where we find common ground with other medical specialists.’
Feldman explained the genesis of the new document, ‘The ACMG Board of Directors felt that it was critical to revise the original 2008 document to answer the who, what, where, when, why and how in the current era of genomic medicine, which involves other genetics health professionals, such as genetic counsellors, genetic nurses, and other lab professionals performing genetic and genomic testing.’
The Scope of Practice document is available at
www.acmg.net/docs/ACMG_SOP_GIM_AOP_072315.pdf. A Commentary from Dr.
The ‘ACMG Scope of Practice of the Specialty of Medical Genetics’ Policy Statement states that the specialty includes:
-Genetic consultations, in both inpatient and outpatient settings
-Treatment of genetic diseases, involvement in clinical trials and natural history
studies leading to approval and use of new, orphan and other drugs
-Early detection and prevention of genetic diseases or their complications
-Performing genetic and genomic testing, interpreting such results and providing
these results to physicians to facilitate diagnosis, management and treatment
-Activities outside of direct patient care, including public health administration, health professional education and research. American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics