Beyond public health genomics: proposals from an international working group

Stefania Boccia, Gualtiero Ricciardi, Paolo Boffetta, Alfredo Cesario, Anna Puggina, Marco Colotto, Martin Mc Kee, Roza Adany, Hilary Burton, Anne Cambon-Thomsen, Martina C. Cornel, Muir Gray, Anant Jani, Bartha Maria Knoppers, Muin J. Khoury, Eric M. Meslin, Cornelia M. Van Duijn, Paolo Villari, Ron Zimmern

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

21 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in genomics have crucial implications for public health, offering new ways of differentiating individuals and groups within populations that go beyond the measures normally used by public health professionals, such as gender, age, socio-economic status, physiological measurements or clinical biomarkers.1 While public health has traditionally been concerned with interventions at a population level, genomic medicine seems to promote a vision for health care that encourages individualism rather than collectivism.2 This tension is apparent in weighing up its consequences. Thus, it may bring benefits in stratifying individuals according to genetic risk, enabling better targeting of preventive and therapeutic interventions. But it may also have harmful consequences undermining the imperative to tackle social and environmental determinants of disease and the collective provision of health care potentially leading to overdiagnosis/overtreatment; it may fragment the risk pooling that underpins social solidarity; and it may increase the probability of stigmatization and discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-879
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Health care
  • genomic medicine
  • public health genomics


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