At the end of my internship at the Center for Jewish Genetics, I feel empowered to move forward. My next step is graduation, and I'm lucky to be leaving the Center with a much expanded grasp of genetic health issues and a collaborative public health project under my belt.
The Center was established as a cooperative effort by its parent organizations, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, after a 1997 symposium on Jewish genetic disorders. The symposium was organized by the Children's Hospital, the Federation, and the Illinois Jewish Genetic Disorders Committee. All of these organizations decided it was important to gather and disseminate knowledge about genetic disorders, and so the Center was founded.
Committed to reducing genetic disorders and health disparities in the Jewish community, the Center for Jewish Genetics fills in gaps in knowledge, both professional and public, and promotes genetic health for everyone. The Center provides culturally relevant education, prevention, and outreach, empowering community members to seek out information and prevention strategies.
Serving both the Jewish community and the general population of Metropolitan Chicago, the Center's reach is ever-expanding, because we recognize it is important for all of us to be aware of our heritage and genetic health! Along with regular genetic screening programs, the Center creates innovative activities to promote their message, such as visiting local health clubs with information on genetic health, and giving out water bottles and the project I worked to design, coordinate, and implement, DNA Day Illinois. The Center has collaborated with the Illinois Department of Public Health for several years to put together educational materials and activities for public health departments across the state, culminating every spring with DNA Day, a celebration of developments in genetic health.
The Center's mission is impressive, and it hasn't failed to impress me. I hope to continue to work promoting public health.
Cassie Harris was the 2013-2014 Sattinger Intern for the Center for Jewish Genetics. She recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago's School of Social Work.
The Center for Jewish Genetics is a cooperative effort of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. The Center is a support foundation of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and is funded in part by the Michael Reese Health Trust.