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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(9):1617

The 2005 Annual Clinical Focus (ACF) of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) was launched last month at the Academy’s 2004 Annual Scientific Assembly in Orlando. The upcoming year’s focus is on genomics and the role that family physicians have in preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic decisions based on genomics. The yearlong educational effort should help prepare family physicians for communicating with patients about the clinical, legal, social, and ethical issues involved in medical genomics.

The AAFP’s 2005 ACF program on genomics is sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute; Maternal and Child Health Bureau; HRSA; National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics; Glaxo-SmithKline; and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Participating partners include the American Academy of NursePractitioners, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Cancer Society, American College of Medical Genetics, American College of Physicians, American Heart Association, American Society of Human Genetics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March of Dimes, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.

Although not directly funded by these sponsors, AFP will be recognizing the ACF by publishing a series of articles and other pieces related to the clinical focus, such as mini-reviews of common genetic syndromes. A special editorial in this issue (see page 1637), by Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Washington, D.C., describes the changing scope of care that family physicians will have in the era of medical genomics.

Dr. Collins uses short case studies to illustrate how genomics can affect diagnostic testing and therapeutic choices. He describes how a patient might be managed if she has a family history of colon cancer, and how a patient with lung cancer might benefit from DNA testing of a tumor sample to determine whether a response can be expected from treatment with gefitinib. He also explains how the field of pharmacogenetics is evolving, so that the development of new drugs in the future might be based on molecular information about disease pathology, especially as it pertains to the field of oncology, and in diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis.

For more information about the AAFP’s 2005 ACF on genomics, please visit

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