|Photo by: Bala Sivakumar|
For the main portion of my rotation, I was tasked with a specific project at the DOH; I created a Lynch syndrome toolkit to distribute to gastroenterologists in Washington and Oregon. This toolkit, which was named the Lynch Syndrome Patient and Provider Resource Guide, contains items that can be utilized by both providers and their patients. For providers, I developed resources such as a Lynch syndrome fact sheet, cascade screening information, and local genetic clinics contact information. For patients, the resource guide contains informational brochures about Lynch syndrome, a letter template for patients to write to their at-risk family members, and tools for family history information collection. Using these components together as a public health intervention, the Washington DOH is hoping to see an increase in Lynch syndrome diagnoses, by way of diagnosing asymptomatic relatives, in both Washington and Oregon.
One of the most important lessons I learned at the DOH was the value of collaboration. For the resource guide project, the Washington DOH collaborated with the Oregon state health department in order to generate a larger impact by reaching out to more gastroenterologists and a larger patient population. Additionally, the overall cost of the project was significantly reduced as a direct result of the collaboration, which was a key priority. Furthermore, during the production process of the resource guide I found that speaking to other members of the DOH in various offices directed the guide’s focus. Though collaboration, I gained tips and insights to help me design the intervention in the most effective way possible.
Besides developing the resource guide, I was able to participate in several other activities at the DOH. I attended meetings with stakeholders and members from other departments. In Washington, the Screening and Genetics Unit works closely with the Early Hearing-loss Detection Diagnosis and Intervention (EHDDI) program. In fact, the two sections recently developed a patient guide together to assist families when their child is diagnosed with any degree of hearing loss. I was also given the exciting opportunity to tour the Washington state newborn screening laboratory to see how newborn bloodspots were analyzed for early detection of genetic conditions.
My optional rotation in Washington State was rich with opportunities to explore how I could blend my MS in Genetic counseling and MPH in Public Health Genetics together. I strongly feel that when I graduate I will be able to grow my career in a unique direction that will always be intellectually stimulating and fulfilling whether I am seeing patients in the clinic or serving a larger population in a genetic counseling public health role.
- Bryony Lynch, Class of 2017