This event will consist of three video interviews with international leading experts on psychiatric genetics and a follow up live discussion and Q&A on the issues raised. The videos are available below and the online discussion will take place at 5pm on 15 February.
This seminar is presented in partnership with the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics
Presentation 1 will be delivered by Jehannine Austin (biography below). Jehannine will explore some of the facts and myths surrounding the relationship between genetics and mental health and mental ill-health. Jehannine will explain what the current state of knowledge and potential future developments and the implications of this for public mental health. This will also include an explanation of psychiatric genetic counselling and what this can do to increase empowerment and shared decision-making.
Presentation 2 will be delivered by Lea K. Davis (biography below). Lea will talk about the importance of community engagement in the field of psychiatric genetics. This will include explaining the rationale for strong partnership working with people affected by poor mental health, some of the challenges to engagement and partnerships, and ways that these can be overcome. This presentation will also explore the importance diversity in engagement, identifying some of the existing biases in gender, race and ethnicity and global diversity in biobanks. Lea will also explore the potential benefits and challenges for mental health and public mental health practitioners and people whose life is, or may be, affected by poor mental health or mental ill-health.
Presentation 3 will be delivered by Maya Sabatello (biography below). Maya will focus on the ethical, legal and social implications on genetics, particularly for people from marginalised communities and/or with disabilities. She will explain precision psychiatry and then discuss her research into a number of current and potential real world uses of genetic testing and the explicit and implicit biases that this surfaces. This research includes family courts and educational settings.
Dr. Jehannine Austin is Executive director of the BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute, and is a Professor in Psychiatry & Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. Jehannine is a board certified genetic counsellor and their research work involves studying the impact of genetic counselling for people with psychiatric disorders and their families. They founded the world’s first specialist psychiatric genetic counselling service that has won an award for its impact on patient outcomes, and in addition to peer-reviewed publications, has written a book, and won awards for teaching, leadership, and research. Jehannine is a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Lea K. Davis, PhD, is an Assistant Professor leading a lab in the Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Work in her lab employs a population level approach to investigate the genetic basis of a wide range of complex traits and disease phenotypes. The research aims to discover how polygenic risk, rare variant risk, and environment interact to contribute to common psychiatric diagnoses and their comorbidities. To accomplish this goal, we apply genomic and bioinformatic approaches to biobank data and phenotypes extracted from the electronic health record. In addition to work in psychiatric genomics, Lea has a long-standing interest in research ethics, mentoring, and community organizing. She strives to create an inclusive environment in her lab and is enthusiastic about mentoring and teaching.
Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD is an Associate Professor of Medical Sciences at the Center for Precision Medicine and Genomics/Department of Medicine and Division of Ethics/Department of Ethics and the Humanities at Columbia University, where she also Co-Directs the Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture Project. She is a former litigator with trans-disciplinary background and has extensive experience in national and international policymaking relating to human and disability rights. Sabatello studies how biomedical technologies and genomic information impact social structures, marginalized communities, and individual rights and health outcomes. Her normative and mixed-methods research program focuses on law, society, medicine, and disability; ramifications of genetic data in non-clinical settings (e.g., courts, schools) for social and racial justice; the psychosocial impact of genomic data on adolescents and family relations; and challenges to inclusion of people with disabilities in precision medicine research.
View the videos on YouTube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_FxVlZHxrQ_ddOP3MgOTcvvNUKUC3gZ5.
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