Reporter/ THE RIDER
Last Saturday, health care professionals spoke to nursing students and professors about the science of genomics and how it can lead to innovation to combat two of America’s biggest health problems, coronary disease and diabetes.
Their goal: “To create a global community of nurses who lead in using knowledge, scholarship, service, and learning to improve the health of the world’s people.”
Research Day 2016 at UTRGV, which was held in the Engineering building in Edinburg, focused on “Promoting Health with Genomics: The New Frontier.” The event was presented by South Texas Health System in conjunction with Pi Omicron chapter 397 Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Nursing.
A panel of experts discussed aspects of incorporating genomics in the provision of professional health care. Members of the panel were Jennifer Dungan, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and a senior fellow of the Duke Center for the study of Aging and Human Development; Jennifer Sanner, an assistant professor at the UT-Health Science Center Houston School of Nursing and manager of the UT-Health Science Center for Clinical and Translational Services Biobank; Lisa Trevino, vice president of Research and Development at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Armour Forse, chief academic officer at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and president of Health Sciences Institute at Renaissance; and Lilia Fuentes, assistant professor and MSN coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at UTRGV.
Genetics is the study of how traits are passed down from one generation to another, also known as inheritance, while genomics refers to the study of genes and their effects in their entirety. Dungan talked about how genetics can lead to coronary disease and diabetes, while discussing the advances the healthcare industry is developing to fight this problem.
“50 percent of coronary disease in the general population can be contributed to genetics and having a positive family history alone can give you a sense of increased risk of about threefold,” said Dungan, a nurse scientist with expertise in cardiovascular genetics research. “Genetic testing has led to the idea of developing a vaccine for coronary disease. In the same way that we get a flu vaccine every year, they’re developing a vaccine based on genomic data that will help prevent your risk of heart disease.”
Nurses Week takes place next month from May 6 through 12, celebrating the nurses of our nation who are at the forefront of improving patient-client care and transforming healthcare.