Rationale of the ECPHG

In the realm of public policy making there is a need to come up with a clear strategy for assessing and translating genome-based knowledge and technologies into policies and health services right in time.

Policymakers now have the opportunity to take action. They must be aware of the opportunity to improve consumer protection, to monitor the implications of genome-based knowledge and technologies for health, social, and environmental policy goals, and to assure that these advances will be tailored not only to treat medical conditions, but also to prevent disease and improve public health.

Sound and well reflected policies and programs in the field of PHG require a timely and coordinated process for evidence-based policy making that relies on scientific research and ongoing community consultation. An acceptable and maybe delicate balance between providing strong protection of individuals' interests and enabling society to benefit from the genomic innovations at the same time must be found. Precondition for immediate action is strategic planning across health programs, promoting genomics competencies among health professionals, enhancing surveillance and epidemiologic capacity to support evidence-based policy-making, building partnerships and seeking input from stakeholders. Here, integrating genomic information into health communication will be an essential tool to generate distributed knowledge.

Thus, likely benefits as well as potential risks of the integration of genome-based knowledge and technologies into public health interventions (assessment) have to be identified. The framework (corridors) for effective, efficient and socially acceptable policies (policy development) has to be described. Steps and ways have to be proposed to assure these policies in public health practise (assurance). At the same time, these three tasks ("public health trias") describe the core functions of public health agencies at all levels of government.