The president of HUGO was a keynote speaker in the 6th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference
“Boasting the role of Genetic Counseling in Arab healthcare establishments”, one of the key messages of the conference
Mr. Abdullah Bin Souqat, the Executive Director of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, announced that the Award’s Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) is to organize the 6th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference (PAHGC2016) from 21 to January 23 at Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai. The main theme of the conference is the “Genetics of Multifactorial Diseases”, or the diseases caused by interplay between genetic and environmental factors.
“The scientific program of the conference includes numerous high-profile lectures spanning 4 scientific sessions (21- 22 January). “The Diagnostic role of Sequencing in Congenital Anomalies” is the title of one of these sessions, in which Professor Stylianos Antonarakis, the president of the Human Genome Organization, will present a lecture as one of the conference’s keynote speakers.
“Selecting the topics of the conference fulfils the needs of specialists and researchers in this field of science, and takes into account the reality of healthcare provision in Arab countries, especially in relation to genetic diseases which are relatively prevalent in the region”, Abdullah bin Souqat noted.
“Genetics of diabetes is the topic of another scientific session in the conference, with the participation of Professor Mark McCarthy, from University of Oxford. And, “Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders” is the topic of another session, with a notable contribution by Professor Alain Verloes, from Paris VII-Denis Diderot University, France, and Professor Nicholas Levy from Hopital Timone Marseille, France”, he added.
“As for the 4th scientific session; Genetics of Cancer, it will be held with the participation of Professor Yves Jean-Bignon director of Comprehensive Cancer Centre Jean Perrin, France, as a keynote speaker”, Abdullah Bin Souqat said.
In the same vein, Dr. Mahmoud Talib Al Ali, the Director of CAGS and the President of the 6th PAHGC, alluded to the practical section in the conference in the form of a genetic counseling workshop that will be held throughout the third day, January 23rd. The workshop is organized by CAGS in collaboration with "Wellcome Trust, Sanger Institute”, which is an international pioneering institute in human genetics and genetic counseling. The workshop is held with the participation of Dr. Christine Patch, from Guy’s Hospital, London, and Dr. Anna Middleton from Sanger institute.
“Mainly, the workshop provides a good coverage of genetic counseling within healthcare establishments from a scientific point of view. This includes qualifications and training needed to work as a genetic counselor, theoretical frameworks and the ethical principles that guide the practice as well as the impact of genomics on genetic counseling. Also, the workshop discusses providing sequencing services within clinics and the impact of genomics on counseling”, Dr Al Ali added.
Workshop participants will explore ways to channel their professional genetic knowledge to patients with neurodevelopmental disorders and to people with disability. Proper examples such as deafness and Huntington's disease will be worked out during the workshop. Considerable focus will be given to the importance of performing genetic tests to newly married couples as well as prenatal tests.
“Since its establishment in 2003 until now, one of CAGS’ main aims is to support genetic counseling as a career and to emphasize its role in Arab healthcare establishments”, Dr. Mahmoud Talib said.
“Genetic counselors play an indispensable role in improving the awareness of all matters related to genetics among members of the public. This leads to enhancement of preventive measures to combat genetic disorders and to reduction of the global and Arab prevalence rates of these disorders. This is very important as these diseases are generally considered a heavy burden on individuals, families and societies”, Dr. Mahmoud Talib Al Ali remarked.
Importantly, 6th PAHGC is held under the supervision of the members of CAGS’ Executive Board and Arab Council, which bring together eminent Arab geneticists and pioneering specialists in the field.