WEST HARTFORD – “Knowledge. Power. Prevention.” is the theme of a special program that aims to increase awareness about Jewish genetic diseases and encourage genetic screening for people of Jewish heritage that will be presented at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford on Monday evening, Feb. 10. Hosted by the JCC, in partnership with the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium (JGDC), the program is free and open to the public.
“There are over 30 serious diseases for which screening options are available,” says David Jacobs, executive director of the Mandell JCC. “We feel it is the responsibility of all of us to be aware of the facts and know the steps we can take to prevent Jewish Genetic Diseases.”
People of Jewish heritage are more likely than the general population to be carriers of certain genetic diseases. Carriers are usually healthy and unaffected by the diseases, but when coupled with another carrier, the risk of passing along the disease to a child rises to 1 in 4. Genetic screening, which can determine carrier status, is available in separate screening panels for Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews.
The program will begin with a presentation by Randy Yudenfriend-Glaser and Shari Ungerleider of the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium. They will be joined for a panel discussion by Gayle Temkin, the parent of a child with a genetic disease; Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel; and Dr. Sally Rosengren, associate professor of Pediatrics, Genetics and Development Biology at the University of Connecticut.
“Screening is knowledge, knowledge is power and power is prevention,” says Yudenfriend-Glaser. “Our alliance of individuals and organization is committed to preventing these diseases through programs such as this one.”
For more information, call (860) 236-4571 or visit mandelljcc.org. For further information on Jewish Genetic Diseases, visit jewishgeneticdiseases.org.