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American College of Medical Genetics Applauds the Passage of the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (GINA)
Date:4/24/2008

BETHESDA, Md., April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) enthusiastically applauds the Senate passage of HR 493, the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (GINA). This legislation provides vital federal protections against the misuse of genetic information in employment and insurance decisions. The bill, as introduced by Representatives Louise Slaughter and Judy Biggert, passed by an overwhelming 420-3 House vote last year. Senators Olympia Snowe and Edward Kennedy introduced a companion version of the bill, S 358, in the Senate last year. The bill will now return to the House before being sent to the President. "We hope the House will be expeditious in acting on the Senate-passed bill so that the President can sign it into a long-awaited law," says Michael S. Watson, PhD, FACMG, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics.

"We believe that no American should have to choose between having a genetic test or participating in a research study that could be important to his or her life, or avoid a genetic test or furthering research to save a job or protect health insurance coverage," says Dr. Watson. "Fear of discrimination, prejudice or economic consequences should not be a factor in whether someone has a genetic test that could improve or save their lives."

"We are pleased that GINA will set a minimum standard of protection for all Americans, such that they will no longer be dependent on a highly variable patchwork of state laws," says ACMG President Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, FACMG, FACOG. "As the medical genetics professionals on the frontline, we at ACMG are aware that the American public perceives genetic discrimination as a very real problem. This fear has already had chilling effects on the public's willingness to seek genetic services and to participate in clinical investigation that will lead to better understanding and treating the genetic components of human disease."

The American College of Medical Genetics had previously published Points to Consider in Preventing Unfair Discrimination Based on Genetic Disease Risk: A Position Statement of the American College of Medical Genetics, which can be viewed in the Publications/Policy Statements section at http://www.acmg.net/

The ACMG is committed to making genetic services accessible and to improving the public's health through the development and implementation of methods to diagnose, treat and prevent genetic disease. ACMG represents 1400 MD Clinical Geneticists and PhD Genetics Laboratory Directors in North America who are Board certified. Other health professionals who are vital to the functioning of the medical genetics team are also represented in ACMG membership; these include genetic counselors, genetics nurse specialists and metabolic dieticians.

About the American College of Medical Genetics

Founded in 1991, the American College of Medical Genetics (http://www.acmg.net) advances the practice of medical genetics by providing education, resources and a voice for more than 1400 biochemical, clinical, cytogenetic, medical and molecular geneticists, genetic counselors and other health care professionals committed to the practice of medical genetics. Genetics in Medicine, published monthly, is the official ACMG peer-reviewed journal. ACMG's website (http://www.acmg.net) offers a variety of resources including Policy Statements, Practice Guidelines, Educational Resources, and a Medical Geneticist Locator. The educational and public health programs of the American College of Medical Genetics are dependent upon charitable gifts from corporations, foundations, and individuals. The American College of Medical Genetics Foundation is a 501 (3)(c) not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding the College's diverse efforts to translate genes into health.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Judith L. Benkendorf, MS, CGC http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=44928 Michael S. Watson, Ph.D. http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=49239


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SOURCE The American College of Medical Genetics
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