Genetics Education Canada: Knowledge Organization (GECKO) is Canada’s first primary care-focused genomics knowledge centre. Established in 2011, it is powered by Ottawa’s Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario with in-kind support from Sinai Health and the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. GECKO is a nonprofit program.
Understanding of the contribution of genomics to health and disease is growing exponentially. These scientific and technological advances have changed the needs of clinicians, patients and the public. The growing number of genomic tests, evolving testing and referral criteria, and complex results place increased demands on non-genomics clinicians to access and provide up-to-date and relevant information in their daily practice. Our resources are developed to meet that need.
In addition to specialty consultation, we involve the learner in development of resources, from conception (topic selection) to production (resource type and content that are applicable in the current clinical setting), to evaluation.
Adapted from Farndon et al 2008 [PMID: 18247106], our program goals are to:
· Provide leadership in genomics1 education for non-genomics clinicians
· Raise awareness of genomics in clinical practice
· Identify the genomics knowledge, skills and attitudes useful for clinical roles
· Incorporate genomics competencies into continuing clinician development for non-genomics clinicians
· Identify and develop genomics educational resources appropriate to the needs of clinicians (and their teachers)
· Disseminate educational resources from this program
· Evaluate educational materials, initiatives and knowledge translation strategies
1At GECKO, when we use the term ‘genomics’ we are referring to genomics and genetics when applicable. Most often, we choose to use genomics. Genetics and Genomics are often used interchangeably but there are differences in their scope. Genetics refers to the study of genes, their role in inheritance and their effects on health and traits. Genomics refers to study of the entirety of the human genome, including gene to gene interactions and gene interaction with the environment to identify variations that affect health or drug response.
For more on genetics versus genomics visit:
- National Human Genome Research Institute Home [Accessed May 2023]
- The Jackson Laboratory [Accessed May 2023]
For more on GECKO’s program development and ongoing activities, check our poster.