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June 6, 2007

Genomics and Public Health Research

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(21):2347-2348. doi:10.1001/jama.297.21.2347-a

To the Editor: Two Commentaries addressed important routes for translating scientific discoveries into practice: practice-based research, discussed by Dr Westfall and colleagues,1 and community-partnered participatory research (CPPR), addressed by Ms Jones and Dr Wells.2 Although not specifically addressed in these Commentaries, rapid advances in genomics illustrate the challenges of translating new technologies into health care and disease prevention. In 2006, National Institutes of Health Director Zerhouni3 said, “I predict that comprehensive, genomics-based health care will become the norm, with individualized preventive medicine and early detection of illnesses.” But as Lenfant4 asked in a 2003 lecture subtitled “Lost in Translation,” “Let's be realistic: If we didn't do it with aspirin, how can we expect to do it with DNA?” Research translation requires better connections among basic sciences, medicine, and public health along the translation highway. We believe that genomic medicine offers 4 opportunities to promote translation by enhancing partnerships among these disciplines.