Genetic counselor to serve as director of cardiovascular genomic counseling
DANVILLE, PA -- Amy Curry Sturm, M.S., a certified and licensed genetic counselor, will join Geisinger’s Genomic Medicine Institute Feb. 20 as director of cardiovascular genomic counseling.
Sturm, who will also serve as a professor, will build on her established expertise in cardiovascular genomic and precision health counseling with the goal of developing an internationally recognized research program in these areas. She will also provide leadership for the scaling up of genomic counseling efforts in the MyCode Community Health Initiative, helping to manage and increase the growth and success of this important community program.
MyCode currently has over 130,000 participants who have consented to give blood or other biological samples for research uses. The DNA of more than 60,000 of these participants has already been sequenced and made research ready.
Sturm joins Geisinger from The Ohio State University, where she was associate professor in the Division of Human Genetics at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She has 13 years of experience in the fields of cardiovascular genetics and genomics.
She has conducted research in the areas of cardiovascular genetics and genomics, patient-centered genetic counseling for common complex diseases and in pharmacogenetics, which looks at how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. She is also an appointed member of the ClinGen Cardiovascular Clinical Domain Working Group. She has served on the board of directors of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and is a published author and national speaker in her areas of expertise. She also works extensively with the Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) Foundation and the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation.
"Amy Sturm is a pioneer exploring the role of genetics and genetic counselors in cardiovascular disease,” said Marc S. Williams, M.D., director of Geisinger’s Genomic Medicine Institute. “Her leadership at Geisinger will put us at the forefront of integrating genomic information into the care of patients with heritable cardiovascular disease," he said.
FH is one of 27 genetic conditions being targeted in Geisinger’s MyCode Community Health Initiative. So far, some 200 patients – including 29 FH carriers – have already been informed they carry one or more disease-causing genetic mutations with consequences that can be treated. These conditions are mainly related to risk for cancer or cardiovascular illness. For details, see go.geisinger.org/results.
“Geisinger is committed to translating this important research directly into improved care for our patients,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D. “Genetic counselors are critical to our genomics and precision medicine programs at Geisinger and nationally. Amy’s expertise and her international reputation in cardiovascular genetics puts us on the map in this important clinical area and will not only benefit our research programs but also greatly enhance quality of care for our patients.”
The MyCode Community Health Initiative is a precision medicine project at Geisinger Health System in which Geisinger patient-participants have consented to donate blood and other biological samples to a systemwide biobank designed to store those samples for wide research use and for genomic personalized or precision medicine. Begun in 2007, the MyCode research project was expanded in 2014 by Geisinger in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. MyCode participants have consented to have parts of their genomes read or analyzed – the technical term is “sequenced.” The information gleaned will contribute to a broad range of research aimed at understanding, preventing or improving treatments for disease. The goal is to help improve health care by finding ways to diagnose medical conditions earlier, even before they appear as symptoms, and also to help find new treatments or medications to manage these diseases.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes nine hospital campuses, a 550,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.