Inaugural Precision Medicine Conference Trains Pharmacogenomics Army of Champions


A Precision Medicine Conference and certificate training program was recently hosted for pharmacists in Orlando, Florida.

The University of Florida (UF) College of Pharmacy and the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program (PMP) recently hosted a Precision Medicine Conference and certificate training program for pharmacists in Orlando, Florida.

The objectives of this inaugural gathering included educating pharmacists about pharmacogenomic information and best practices for its use in patient care and clinical decision-making. The patient-centered teaching exercises carried out during the conference reflected real-life examples.

The conference was a great success with more than 150 participants in attendance. In addition to the didactic learning portion, the conference included patient case and expert panel discussions featuring more than 15 clinical experts in pharmacogenomics.

Led by UF College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, the UF Health PMP is a multidisciplinary effort that provides the complementary clinical, informatics, laboratory medicine, and administrative expertise needed for genomic medicine implementation.

“UF Health’s clinical services include a robust pharmacogenomics program with inpatient and outpatient interventions. We use evidence-based data to direct the use of pharmacogenomic testing and best practice guidelines in patient care,” said Kristin Weitzel, PharmD, FAPhA, associate director of the UF Health PMP.

Dr. Weitzel noted that this type of training program is important because pharmacists are increasingly being recognized for their expertise and alignment with pharmacogenomic medicine.

“Our training program helps arm pharmacists and providers with the ability to recognize potential negative reactions or non-responders and equips clinicians with appropriate guidelines to follow. We want to increase awareness about the pharmacist’s potential role in pharmacogenomic testing,” she said. “Pharmacists have the skills, interest, and opportunity available, and now UF Health is fostering the knowledge and training portion of the equation for pharmacists who wish to become trained in this area.”

The key role that pharmacists can play in pharmacogenomics was emphasized in a recent commentary authored by Drs. Johnson and Weitzel. In this article, titled “Advancing Pharmacogenomics as a Component of Precision Medicine: How, Where, and Who?” they explained that pharmacists “will be key in facilitating widespread use of pharmacogenomics over time.”

They also noted that in order for pharmacogenomic data to be accepted as part of routine clinical care, an “army of champions” will be needed to push pharmacogenomics “outside the walls of academia.”

These “champions” include the pharmacists who were trained during the first annual Precision Medicine Conference and those who will participate in the years to come. The “army” includes Dr. Johnson, Dr. Weitzel, Amina Abubakar, myself, and hundreds of other pharmacists across the country.

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