Public Health Genomics (PHG)


Public Health Genomics (PHG) is "a multidisciplinary field concerned with the effective and responsible translation of genome based knowledge and technologies to improve population health" (Bellagio StatementExternal Web Site Policy, 2006).

With the accelerating pace of discoveries of human genetic variation, epigenetic, molecular, biochemical and cellular technologies for cancer care and prevention, there is an urgent need to develop clinical and population-level research, policy and practice processes to translate basic science discoveries into actions that reduce the population burden of cancer in the United States.

The emerging scientific translation needs in the genomics era are substantial. Population sciences are now urgently needed to assess the distribution of genetic variants and their products biomarkers, and interactions with other genes and environmental factors. New methods are needed to assess the contribution of genes and gene-environment interactions (behavior, nutrition, chemicals, and other exposures) to individual and population risks for various cancers. Behavioral and social sciences are needed to assess how genetic information can be used to effect behavior change to reduce the burden of cancer. As importantly, implementation sciences and applied research on clinical utility, effectiveness, and economics of genomics-based health care applications are needed to assess their added value in cancer care and prevention. Genomics and related fields will also affect surveillance, dissemination and diffusion research as well as evaluation of cancer progression and survivorship. Without the expansion of population sciences in genomics, the promise of genome research and discoveries may not reach its full potential.

PHG at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) promotes the integration of genomics and precision medicine into public health cancer research, policy, and control to reduce the burden of cancer in the United States and around the world. Learn more about PHG priorities.

NCI's mission is to integrate genomics into public health cancer research, policy, and programs. Its vision is to use genomic knowledge to reduce the burden of cancer.

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Funding Opportunities

EGRP is co-sponsoring the following Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) related to public health genomics:

  • Ethical, Legal, Social Implications of Human Genome Research - expires September 8, 2017:

EGRP joins with other NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers and other Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to FOAs and also invites investigator-initiated applications.

There are also several relevant NIH FOAs:

  • Building Genetics and Genomic Knowledge about Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Diseases and Disorders – expires January 8, 2018, unless reissued
  • Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science – expires May 21, 2016, unless reissued
  • Limited Competition: Initiative to Maximize Research Education in Genomics: Diversity Action Plan – expires September 7, 2016, unless reissued
  • Initiative to Maximize Research Education in Genomics: Courses – expires May 8, 2016, unless reissued

View the full list of EGRP FOAs.

EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications for public health genomics research projects.

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Training Opportunities

Training Opportunities through the CDCExternal Web Site Policy
CDC-supported training programs, courses and materials in public health genomics, family history, and human genome epidemiology

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Research Resources

The goal is to improve public health interventions of cancer through the following major projects or initiatives:

  • Cancer Genomics and Epidemiology Navigator (CGEN)
    The Cancer Genomics and Epidemiology Navigator (CGEN) is an integrated, searchable and updated knowledge base on the impact of genomic, environmental and clinical factors on cancer occurrence and outcomes.
  • Cancer Risk Prediction and Assessment Models
    Links to risk prediction models in peer-reviewed scientific journals and other online risk prediction models for multiple cancer types.
  • Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and PreventionExternal Web Site Policy (EGAPP)
    EGAPP offers a systematic, evidence-based process for assessing genetic tests and other applications of genomic technology in transition from research to clinical and public health practice.
  • Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention NetworkExternal Web Site Policy (GAPPNet)
    Collaborative initiative involving diverse stakeholder organizations working together to realize the promise of genomics in healthcare and disease prevention.
  • Genomic Data Sharing Policy Home PageExternal Web Site Policy
    Information about NIH's implementation of a policy for sharing genomic data obtained in NIH-supported or conducted studies.
  • Human Genome Epidemiology NetworkExternal Web Site Policy (HuGENet™)
    HuGENet is a global collaboration of individuals and organizations committed to the assessment of the impact of human genome variation on population health and how genetic information can be used to improve health and prevent disease.
  • The Cancer Genome AtlasExternal Web Site Policy
    TCGA is generating comprehensive, multi-dimensional maps of the key genomic changes in major types and subtypes of cancer. TCGA data is available to the research community for use in developing better ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing cancer.

A trans-NIH Public Health Genomics Interest Group (PHGIG) has been created. This group will lead NIH regarding scientific input on PHG training, workshops, and initiatives. Sign upExternal Web Site Policy for the PHGIG listserv (NIH only).

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Public Health Resources

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Conferences, Meetings, and Seminars

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Selected Publications

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  • CDC Genomics & Health Impact UpdateExternal Web Site Policy
    CDC's Office of Public Health Genomics (OPHG) provides updated and credible information on how genomic information and family health history can improve health and influence policy and practice

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  • Muin J. Khoury M.D., Ph.D.
    Director, Office of Public Health Genomics, CDC
    Acting Associate Director, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI

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