Blog Archives

New Lesson! New Name!

MJGH logoIf you haven’t yet heard, last week we launched our new GeneSights lesson about Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Well, I should say, it’s not a GeneSights lesson anymore. After listening to the feedback we’ve been getting, we decided to change the name of our online education series to one that can be more easily recognized and understood. Welcome to MyJewishGeneticHealth.com!

Our new lesson on PGD is a very exciting one, and one which we hope will be a valuable resource to the community. Our speaker, Dr. Harry Lieman, is the Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as the Director of Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health, and the Liaison for Fertility and Reproductive Technologies at the PJGH.

Our PSA, Robin’s story, can be seen here. Speaking with Robin and understanding her story was pivotal in understanding why we needed to develop a lesson about PGD.

As was true for GeneSights, signing up for MyJewishGeneticHealth.com is free, and obviously does not replace regular medical care or visits with your doctor. We hope this lesson will help inform you and your loved ones about the process and utility of PGD!

Come learn with us!

Genetic Screening Sunday

carrier screening PSAMost of my Sundays involve errands, and then some dedicated time to relaxing and recharging before the upcoming week. This past Sunday I spent ~8 hours at a screening event that we ran at YU, open to Yeshiva College and Stern College students and alumni, and community members in Washington Heights. Registration opened ~3 weeks ago, and we were almost at capacity within days. We ended up screening ~140 individuals (not too shabby if you ask me!).

Screening events such as this one are really great, but also very challenging. They are great because it enables a large audience to benefit and pursue carrier screening in a convenient and centralized location. Screening events are challenging because of all the planning, coordination, and logistics which are involved in counseling and testing literally hundreds of people at a time.

One of the things which made this event run so smoothly is a new video we created as a tool to teach people about Jewish carrier screening. We decided to make this short video around the same time that I filmed the video for our new GeneSights lesson about Preconception Carrier Screening. Some of the more amusing parts of the day were all of the “You’re the woman from the video!” comments that I got. You can access the full GeneSights lesson by signing up and signing in here.

Even though it was a very long day, luckily, we had a ton of help! Special thanks to all our physicians, genetic counselors and genetics fellows, volunteers from the YU Medical Ethics Society, volunteer genetic counseling students, and our phlebotomists! (Anna, Ariella, Aryeh, Avi, Barrie, Carol, Chana, Chris, Emily, Jon, Mickey, Pauline, Sam, Sara Malka, Sara Malka [yup there were 2], Shirley, Susan, Tehilla, Temima, Yocheved, and Yosef). We could not have done it without you! A big thanks to Estie Rose, our genetic counselor who organized the event. The day went so smoothly, and in my opinion, was a big success. Now it’s time to wait for the results and begin the never ending process of follow up. Since 1 in 3 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for one of the conditions we screen for, I guess we’ll be expecting ~47 carriers from this screening event. That’s a lot of follow up!

If you missed the event but would still like to be screened, check out these great instructions on how!

Our New GeneSights Lesson: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

genesights logo

After months of hard work, we recently launched our next lesson on our GeneSights Jewish Genetic Online Series. You’ll remember how excited we were when we launched our first lesson on BRCA1 and BRCA2 related Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer. Well, we’re just as excited about our new lesson about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)!

For this lesson, we have a fantastic speaker, Dr. Judy Cho, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Yale, who shared her expertise about Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The associated PSA, Alyssa’s story, can be seen here. Truth is, even though I have a number of friends who have Crohn’s disease, I really didn’t have any idea what it was all about until I watched Dr. Cho’s webinar.

We partnered with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) – Greater New York Chapter to increase awareness about IBD, and help connect those who are dealing with IBD or are trying to find out more about IBD, with a fantastic resource!

Remember, signing up for GeneSights is free, and obviously does not replace regular medical care or visits with your doctor. We hope this lesson will help inform you and your loved ones about Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I know it informed me!

Come learn with us!

Introducing: GeneSights!

genesights  full logo

If you haven’t already heard, two weeks ago we launched our new free Jewish Genetics online education series, GeneSights. The GeneSights project has been in the works now for at least a year. It started with our vision of educating the entire Jewish community about medical issues which have a Jewish genetic component, and developed as we crafted a mechanism which would get the word out to as many people as possible, in the most effective way possible.

You see, the traditional models of community education, such as in-person lectures, reach a limited number of people; and although these in-person events can be successful, they can also be complicated by an endless amount of scheduling conflicts, weather mishaps, and traffic jams. Additionally, when we run an event in Teaneck, NJ, it doesn’t really help those living in Memphis, TN, or Cleveland, OH , who may have also been interested in the topic and would benefit from the education.

We got our inspiration from the up and coming world of online education, and in our effort to make this education accessible to anyone at any time, GeneSights was born! The GeneSights platform gives users access to webinar presentations by experts in the field about medical issues that have a Jewish genetic component.  Most “lessons” have a short public service announcement (PSA) video associated with them, which gives a snapshot of the condition in question, from a patient’s perspective. Additional resources about the condition and links to outside support organizations are housed on the individual lesson’s page as well.

Our first lesson is about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer. The associated PSA, Sara’s Story, can be seen here. A two-part introductory lesson, Genetics 101, is pre-loaded on the site as well, and our next lesson that already is in production is on Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Future lesson topics will include, Parkinson’s disease, PGD: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, Blood disorders and Bone Marrow Donation, and more! (And yes, we are open to topic suggestions, and would love to hear from you!)

These online lessons are not going to replace our in-person lectures or doctors visits, but we hope that they will help create a rich tapestry of opportunities to become educated about genetics and its impact on your health, and the health of the Jewish community as a whole.

We’re extremely excited to be able to share this resource with the community! Check it out at www.GeneSights.com

Come learn with us!

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