By Becca Bakal, MPH
Welcome to the third installment of our blog post series
about the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics Community Needs Assessment! Last
time, I shared some factors that influence understanding of Jewish
This time, I’ll discuss strategies to support people in
learning about Jewish genetic health. The final big question the needs
assessment addressed was: Now that we’ve measured what people know about Jewish
genetics, and how that differs between groups, how can we move the needle?
Needs assessment participants advocated for two main avenues
of sharing information about Jewish genetic health: professional education and community
education. Some suggested that they would be most receptive to information
about recessive disorders and hereditary cancers if it came from their
healthcare providers (including therapists) or clergy.
That said, not everyone has a relationship with a rabbi, and
not every healthcare provider has the time or bandwidth to address Jewish
genetic health in depth with patients. Community education can supplement and
complement professional education. Both
are necessary to ensure that people feel empowered to manage individual and
Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics already provides
opportunities for professional education and community education, and these
findings are helping us to grow and refine the educational supports we offer.
Participants recommended a variety of approaches to engaged
constituents, themselves, and their peers:
- In-person programming: speaker events,
small-group discussions, panel events
- Virtual outreach: webinars, podcasts, email
newsletters, social media, short explanatory videos
- Physical resources: flyers, pamphlets
Participants also spoke of the power of peer education and learning
from their families about health. We can most effectively educate at-risk
families of Jewish ancestry by reaching them through a variety of avenues.
Different formats and topics interest people across the lifespan, so developing
a menu of options for education is critical.
Tune in for our last post to learn about what we’re taking
away from the needs assessment process. I’ll share our recommendations and next
steps based on these findings.
Download the needs assessment here.