GEM Offering Conference Grants to Qualifying UBMD Physicians

Published April 20, 2018

The Community of Excellence in Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) is offering conference grants to a limited number of UBMD primary care physicians.

“We felt like this was a way of influencing the influencers, if you will, or educating the educators.”
GEM co-director and associate professor of biochemistry

Offers Opportunity to Promote Genomic Literacy

“We felt like this was a way of influencing the influencers, if you will, or educating the educators,” says Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, GEM co-director and associate professor of biochemistry.

“One of the major goals of GEM is to promote genomic literacy throughout the community. You think of that as just being necessary for lay people, the average person in the community. If you dig into the literature a little bit, it turns out physicians really are not as well informed about genomics and genomic medicine as they could be,” says Surtees, who is also a faculty member in the genetics, genomics and bioinformatics program.

Wanted: Physicians Who See Large Numbers of Patients

While the grants were designed for physicians in family medicine and internal medicine, it can also include other fields, such as pediatrics.

“We want physicians who contact the most number of people,” Surtees says. “We can go into the community and talk to individuals one at a time. However, if we can reach a physician who sees 100 patients, it’s much more efficient.”

First Awardee Attends Mayo Clinic Conference

Muhammad A. Ghazi, MD, clinical assistant professor of family medicine, was the first GEM sponsorship awardee. He attended the Mayo Clinic’s Individualized Medicine Conference in October 2017.

It was his first exposure to precision medicine, and it proved enlightening.

“Precision medicine will have a huge role in the day-to-day medical practice in the future. It has the potential to have a tremendous impact on different diseases,” says Ghazi, the medical director of Erie County Medical Center’s family health center.

“Precision medicine is here and will be more streamlined. It is already making a difference in clinical outcomes and diagnostics from liquid biopsies, personalized immunotherapies and pharmacogenomics.”

Selections Being Made Through June

“We anticipate giving out two or three grants this year. It’s a little dependent on demand. If there’s overwhelming demand, then we’ll see what we can do about adding sponsorships,” Surtees says.

Information can be found at GEM’s Conference Sponsorship Opportunity for UBMD page, which also includes an online application form.