Genetic Insights Project now open for employee enrollment

As announced in August, the Genetic Insights Project (IRB# 645-23-CB) is officially underway. The project is a partnership between UNMC, Nebraska Medicine and Helix, a nationally known organization that leads population health and genomics across the United States. The program’s goal is to enroll 100,000 people over five years, making it the largest population health program in Nebraska.

Nebraska Medicine and UNMC colleagues who are interested in participating in this research study can sign up. In the months ahead, people across the state will have the opportunity to enroll.

Employees are eligible if they are 19 years old or older and have been a patient at Nebraska Medicine in the past. Participants must have an existing One Chart | Patient account or create a new account prior to signing up for the study. A colleague’s decision to participate, decline or withdraw from the study will not affect their employment status or the assessment or evaluation of their job performance.

Participants will learn what their genetics may tell them about potentially serious health risks by testing for mutations in genes connected to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer, Lynch syndrome (which is related to colorectal cancer) and high cholesterol. The program also will expand its panel of genetic markers in the future, potentially providing information about other conditions. Testing is done by collecting a small tube of blood.

Project leaders say similar research in other regions has found one in 75 participants identified a serious condition through genomic testing, allowing those people to learn more about options for early treatment. In 90% of those cases, the conditions discovered would not have been found with traditional testing methods.

Nebraska Medicine is the latest health system to partner with Helix. Other partners include Mayo Clinic, Renown Health, HealthPartners and The Medical University of South Carolina.

Interested colleagues can learn more by visiting the Genetic Insights Project website.

Colleagues interested in participating must first visit the Helix enrollment website to sign up. Colleagues will be asked to confirm their identity by logging into their One Chart | Patient account, at which time their contact information and some other details associated with their Nebraska Medicine account (such as name, email, phone number, date of birth and medical record number) is shared with Helix to assist with the enrollment process.

After learning about the study on the Helix website, interested participants can enroll in the research study by signing a consent form. Instructions for next steps will be provided to enrolled participants.

At this early stage, only Nebraska Medicine and UNMC employees are eligible. As the project continues into the spring, employees’ family members, Nebraska Medicine patients and the general public will soon be able to participate. As more people enroll, the project’s leaders hope to unlock DNA trends at the population level, allowing them to discover ways to protect more people from heart-related issues and cancer for many years to come.

The principal investigator on this study is Douglas Stoller, MD, PhD.

Genetic Insights Project, IRB# 645-23-CB

University of Nebraska Medical Center, 982265 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198

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