CBGC 2018 Annual Meeting
On March 17th, the "2018 Annual Meeting – Chinese Board of Genetic Counseling (CBGC)" was held in Suzhou, China. Nearly 1,000 people including leaders of national ministries and commissions, leaders of the Suzhou municipal government, academicians and foreign and domestic experts, medical workers, and business leaders attended the conference to discuss the cutting-edge and hot issues in the genetic counseling field as well as promote the development of the Chinese genetic consulting industry for its further specialization, professionalization and regularization.
▲ Conference scene
The Annual Meeting's opening ceremony was hosted by Academician Qiao Jie, President of Peking University Third Hospital. The leaders and guests who attended the opening ceremony included: Academician Wang Zhizhen, Vice Chairman of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC; Wang Yongjin, Director of the Capacity Building and Continuing Education Center of the National Health and Family Planning Commission; Chen Linsen, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Suzhou committee ; Ding Lixin, Deputy Director of the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee; Yu Jiqiang, Deputy Director of Science, Technology and information Bureau of Suzhou Industrial Park; Academician He Lin, Chairman of the CBGC, Academician Lin Dongxin, Director of Etiology and Carcinogenesis Research Department, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Academician Qiao Jie, President of Peking University Third Hospital; Academician Gu Dongfeng, Associate Dean of Fuwai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Vice President Chen Zijiang of Shandong University; Dean Huang Guoying, Pediatric Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University; Zhu Liping , Director of Shanghai Center for Women and Children’s Health; Wang Qiuju, Director of the Institute of Otolaryngology, Chinese PLA General Hospital; Sun Luming, Director of the Department of Fetal Medicine, Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital; Anxi Pei, the former Deputy Secretary-General of Genetics Society of China; Erica Ramos, Chairman of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC); Prof. Jonathan Picker of Children's Hospital of Boston, Harvard Medical School; Prof. Huang Taosheng of Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Prof. Zheng Qian of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and Regional Genetics Center of North East, London; Bai Shaochun, Director of Molecular Genetic Diagnostic Laboratory, Detroit Medical Center; Prof. Chen Zhao of Human Genetics School, Baylor College of Medicine; etc.
Academician Wang Zhizhen, Director Wang Yongjin, Deputy Director Ding Lixin and Academician He Lin delivered speeches at the Opening Ceremony.
▲ Academician Wang Zhizhen delivers her speech
“There should be no delay in the prevention against and control of birth defects in newborns in our country and we should fight against that every second.” Said the Academician Wang Zhizhen, “It is imperative to reduce birth defects and enable more families to deliver healthy babies.”
Wang Zhizhen believes that one of the key reasons why the diagnostics and sequencing technology have not benefited more patients in the clinic, could be lack of a bridge for genetic counseling. “Academician He Lin is the one who initiated the establishment of the CBGC in 2015, and implemented specialized training in clinical genetic counseling capabilities guided by the Capacity Building and Continuing Education Center of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.” Said Academician Wang Zhizhen. She added, “Many outstanding healthcare workers of national family planning system, scientific research institutions and other organizations were trained, bridging the clinical gap of genetic counseling in China and laid a foundation for its professionalization.”
“In addition, the CBGC has exchanged with two of the top leading US genetic counseling agencies - the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and the American Certification of Genetic Counseling (ACGC) on genetic counselor training and certification experience, introducing the Genetic Counseling international standards into China, to gradually improve the domestic genetic counseling and training system, hence narrowing the gap with developed countries. I believe that with the strong support of the national policy and the joint efforts of all my colleagues, China's genetic counseling will surely move forward rapidly in order to gradually meet clinical needs, consequently reducing the birth defect rate in China .”
▲ Director Wang Yongjin delivers his speech
“This is the third time I have participated in the CBGC annual meeting. In the past three years, I have witnessed achievements and progress made in various aspects of the CBGC. One of the most important purpose of the board is to reduce the level of birth defects in China, a mission that is facing various pressures.” Said Director Wang Yongjin in his speech, “In the background of such conditions, experts and professionals nationwide majored on genetics gathered in the CBGC lead by Academician He Lin. The professionals in the national genetics discipline have done a lot to promote the development of genetic counseling in China, which has greatly eased the shortage of clinical genetic personnel. With its official platform, the board offered remote training, that benefited many students. Moreover, a genetic counseling case database has been set up. Additionally, books like “Expert Consensus Guidelines for Genetic Counseling Standards in China” and the “ACMG Expert Criteria Guidelines for Genetic Variation Taxonomy Chinese Standards” have been published for reference in this field. All these efforts have laid the foundation for the professionalization and professional development of genetic counseling in China.
The Capacity Building and Continuing Education Center of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (CBCEC) is responsible for the capacity-building task of professional and technical personnel of the system-wide health and family planning in which Genetics is one of the most important areas. CBCEC is therefore mandated with the establishment of a genetic counseling training system, the development of genetic counseling standards, and the promotion of the professionalization and professionalization of genetic counseling in China. The CBCEC will continue to support the work of the CBGC. Together with the board, it will be committed to the development of genetic counseling talents as well as the birth defects prevention, thus contributing to the development of healthcare and genetic counseling efforts in China.”
▲ Deputy Director Ding Lixin delivers his speech
Deputy Director Ding Lixin started his speech with sincere congratulations on the successful convening of the 2018 CBGC Annual Meeting on behalf of the Administrative Committee of the Suzhou Industrial Park, and extended his warm welcome to the experts and scholars who had attended the annual meeting. "In recent years, the rapid development of high-throughput sequencing technology has brought benefits to the diagnosis and prevention of genetic diseases and cancer. Genetic counseling is indispensable yet still very weak link in the process of gene sequencing and clinical application. The 2018 CBGC Annual Meeting was not only a grand event for the genetic counseling community, but also a top platform for global genetic counselors to exchange views.” Said Ding in his speech.
“In recent years, Suzhou Industrial Park has been making efforts in promoting the development of the biomedical industry. In 2017, the biopharmaceutical industry in Suzhou Industrial Park achieved rapid development -- annual production value reached 61.5 billion yuan, attracting 1,025 pharmaceutical companies to join in, and its biopharmaceuticals competitiveness ranking the top across the country, thanks to the implementation of the driving strategy of transformation, upgrading and innovation. In addition, the largest and most comprehensive medical inspection public platform in Jiangsu Province was completed and put into use in the park. It has established a comprehensive service system in the areas of reproduction, genetic disease detection, tumor diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, forming cluster benefits and technological leadership to some extent in the field of high-throughput sequencing.”
Deputy Director Ding Lixin said the park will continue to promote the development of the biopharmaceutical industry as well as the transformation of major scientific and technological achievements in the park. Since the industrial environment and ecological system of the park is suitable for the development of life sciences, experts participating in the annual meeting were invited to join hands with the enterprises in the park in order to promote the people's health.
▲ Academician He Lin delivers his speech
At the beginning of his speech, Academician He Lin reviewed the development of the CBGC over the past few years: so far, the board has successfully organized 12 sessions of genetic counselor training classes, 3 intermediate classes, 1 advanced class, and some public welfare classes; Over 3,000 genetic counselors have been trained, thus promoting the national genetic counseling, that has been recognized by the industry players.
"2018 is the Year of the Dog in Chinese lunar calendar, meaning that we are entering a year of doing practical things. During this year, the CBGC Annual Meeting is once again held in Suzhou, a paradise on earth. And here the new ideas on the customization and legalization of the genetic counselor, complementing the shortcomings of genetic counseling in China, constructing reasonable solutions for genetic counseling, among other related issues will be created and exchanged," he said.
He added, "I believe that by the spirit of 'dog' and the sentiments of 'paradise', the 2018 CBGC Annual Meeting will be an international-standard conference which will definitely make great value to the development of genetic counseling."
"Standing Committee Inauguration Ceremony" & "CBGC Member Addition Ceremony"
In order to better carry out and manage the board's mandate, the CBGC decided to add a standing committee to the organization to act as the decision-making body of the CBGC, responsible for the resolution of the board's major decisions. During the committee meeting held on March 16th, all the CBGC members and advisors elected members of the standing committee , with Academician He Lin being elected to serve as the chief member of the Standing Committee.
▲ Academician Wang Zhizhen, Vice Chairman of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC, conferred "Letter of Appointment" for the First Standing Committee of the CBGC
Meanwhile, the board is planning to add 12 new members this year in order to accelerate the development of genetic counseling in China as well as give full play to the experts' technical experiences and advantages. All the new members are professionally and academically outstanding and have given strong support to genetic counseling.
▲ Academician He Lin conferred "Letter of Appointment" to the new members
At the opening ceremony, 1,000 guests who attended the ceremony witnessed the inauguration ceremony of the Standing Committee and the addition ceremony for the new CBGC members.
"Special Contribution Award Ceremony" & "Online Case-Sharing Recognition Ceremony"
▲ Special Contribution Awarding Ceremony
Since its foundation, the CBGC has made a lot of groundwork and groundbreaking work to promote the development of genetic counseling in China. Considering that Mr. Wang Yongjin, Director of the Capacity Building and Continuing Education Center, National Health and Family Planning Commission, and Mr. An Xipei, former Deputy Secretary-General of Genetics Society of China, have made outstanding contributions to the development of genetic counseling in China, the committee decided to give them the "Special Contribution Award". Academician Qiao Jie handed over the "Special Contribution Award" to the two.
▲ Academician Lin Dongxin awards the guests "Case-Sharing Commemorative Medal"
Since the hosting of “Live Case-Sharing Campaign” by the CBGC in 2017, more than 20 guests have participated in the campaign for the public welfare. In recognition of their willingness to share knowledge and selfless dedication, as well as to encourage more peers to actively participate in this campaign, the board decided to award them the “Case-Sharing Commemorative Medal” in appreciation for their contribution to the development of genetic counseling in China. This year, 16 experts and professionals were awarded including Dr. Guan Jing from the Chinese PLA General Hospital, Prof. Shen Yiping from the Boston Children's Hospital in the United States, and Prof. Bai Shaochun from the Detroit Medical Center.
After the awarding ceremony, the conference was formally opened with excellent speeches delivered by Academician He Lin, Member of the CBGC; Erica Ramos, Chairman of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC); Prof. Jonathan Picker of Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Prof. Zheng Qian of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and Regional Genetics Center of North East, London; and Zhu Liping, Director of Shanghai Center for Women and Children’s Health.
He Lin: Status and Prospects of Genetic Counseling Development in China
The birth defects situation in China is urgent. According to National Health and Family Planning Commission estimation, 200,000 to 300,000 newborns with visible defects are born in China annually, representing about 4-6% of the total number of births per year including the past diagnosis. The total number of the defective children is 80-1.2 million equaling to three times of population of Icelandic republics. This urgent situation needs to be settled with the participation of genetic counselors. Before 2015, the Chinese genetic consulting industry was facing a huge dilemma, the reason the CBGC was founded.
Since its establishment in February 2015, the board has done a lot of work to promote the development of genetic counseling in China under the guidance of academician He Lin and has been greatly applauded by the public. As per the main task of genetic counseling, several systems need to be established: a standardized genetic counseling process; genetic counselors' clinical practice norms; genetic counseling guidelines in different fields; genetic counselor qualification standards and assessment requirements; professional genetic counselor training and certification; as well as certificates issued by qualified genetic counselors. In addition, more efforts need to be made to discover the genetic causes of various diseases, explain the role of various genetic factors in disease development, promote the latest molecular diagnostic techniques and their application in monitoring, and build human health and disease genetic counseling to give medical advice.
One of the goals of the CBGC is to train a batch of qualified genetic counselors nationwide through short courses to fill certain job vacancies. For the counselor training, the CBGC together with partner hospitals provide training conditions and practical spaces. It also provides guidance on the development of qualified genetic counselors in terms of policy systems, and industrial standards among others. The training courses have provided good experience and materials for the nationwide medical schools and colleges to set up master courses. Academician He said that the work of genetic counseling in China will be developed in line with international standards and move towards a new era.
Erica Ramos：To establish and develop genetic counselors career planning and exchanging of specifications
In the United States, genetic counseling is organized by the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) established in 1971, when the first batch of master's degree of genetic counseling was awarded at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. In 1979, practitioners formally established the organization, set up membership standards and appointed representatives in each region. Erica Ramos, President of NSGC shared the development experience of the US genetic counseling industry, talked about its membership, organizational structure, and tasks, providing guidance and reference for the development of genetic counseling in China. Erica emphasized that "as long as all the parties work together, they can move faster. The best way to predict the future is to create it."
Jonathan Picker：Training for Clinical Genetic Counselors
As early as the 1950s, the concept of genetic counseling was developed in the United States. In the 1960s, people called for the development of specialized genetic counselors. And in the early 1970s, genetic counseling training began, followed by establishment of the committee. The clinical genetic counseling system of the US Department of Medical Genetics consists of three categories of experts: clinical genetic physicians, clinical laboratory geneticists, and genetic counselors. Professor Jonathan Picker of Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, introduced in details, the genetic counseling system and curriculum of the Harvard Medical School Genetics Training Program (HMSGTP) in his report, providing professional guidance and reference for the professionalization of genetic counseling in China.
Zheng Qian：Practical Experience of British Genetic Consultation System
Among European countries, Britain, Netherlands and Norway were the first countries to develop genetic consulting. The first British to be engaged in the career of genetic counselors can be dated back to as early as 1980. The Britain's Genetic counseling system is leading globally. In her report " Sharing of Genetic Advisory Systems and Clinical Practice in the UK", Prof. Zhen Zheng from the Genetics Center of Northeastern London, Great Ormond Street Hospital answered questions like "how was the British genetic consulting industry developed step by step"; "What is the situation of the British genetic counseling system?"
Zhu Liping: The Effects and Importance of Remote Genetic Counseling in China
On October 11, 2016, the world's first large-scale remote genetic counseling free clinic jointly organized by the CGBC and Shanghai Center for Women and Children’s Health (SCWCH) was formally launched at the SCWCH. This free clinic is the first model in the field of genetic counseling not only in China but across the world, enabling patients to fully enjoy the superior skills and services of the top genetic domestic and foreign counselors, achieving knowledge maximization and minimization of distance, fully integrating international and domestic experts' resources. In her report, Zhu Liping, director of SCWCH, discussed the effects and importance of the remote genetic counseling.
As we all know, the emergence of genetic testing technology has brought a gospel for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Noteworthy, genetic counseling is an indispensable part of genetic testing for clinical applications. However, due to historical reasons, genetic counseling did not receive attention in our country in the past, leading to the lack of professional institutions. Establishment and development of genetic counseling in China is therefore urgent.
The 2018 CBGC Annual Meeting was one of the most important conferences in the field of genetics. Six special sessions were set up including maternity, reproduction, pediatrics, deafness, ACMG, and tumors, providing a good platform for guests to learn and exchange ideas via dozens of academic reports, case study sharing and roundtable summit forums. Together with all the present guests, the CBGC envisioned a brighter future for genetic counseling in China!