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June 24, 2020 (Huntsville, Ala.) – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation (MCN), the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and HudsonAlpha Health Alliance, have begun a collaboration to bring health and education programs with a focus on genetics and genomics to the tribe. The integration of genomic information in precision medicine is rapidly advancing health care, as an individual’s genome carries important information about disease risks, potential responses to therapy, and appropriate medications. By building programs that integrate genomics into the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health (MCNDH), its citizens and patients will gain access to these advances.
In keeping with tribal leadership’s commitment to improving access to quality and advanced education programs, the collaboration will also provide MCN students and educators access to the latest in genomic science educational tools and classroom support, as well as opportunities to explore careers in biotechnology and genomic medicine through a variety of workforce programs.
The MCN genomic health program, through a collaboration with the Health Alliance, will involve the implementation of comprehensive clinical genetic testing to citizens receiving care at MCNDH. This will include clinical decision support for MCNDH physicians, access to the Health Alliance’s Genome Gateway portal for electronic delivery of genetic test results, and test-specific education for patients and physicians. The program will be managed with strict adherence to the tribe’s privacy standards, quality protocols and supervision for the purpose of improving health outcomes for MCN citizens.
“This exciting program creates a critical bridge between the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the advanced genomic science and education programs at the HudsonAlpha Institute. We think this program will serve as a new collaborative model that will give MCN a leadership position in Native American health initiatives, empowering their citizens to participate in the biotechnology revolution, while maintaining tribal autonomy,” said Devin Absher, PhD, Director of Genomic Health at HudsonAlpha.
“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health takes pride in its history of innovation, from being the first tribe in the country to own and operate community hospitals to collaborating with an internationally recognized research institution to improve healthcare delivery for our citizens. This partnership with HudsonAlpha provides a real-world solution to address the significant health disparities our citizens face and will enable us to improve health outcomes for generations to come,” said Shawn Terry, Secretary of Health for the Muscogee Creek Nation.
About Muscogee (Creek) Nation: The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the fourth-largest federally recognized tribe in the United States, headquartered in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. MCN has more than 89,000 citizens.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.
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