JScreen, a national non-profit public health initiative dedicated to preventing genetic diseases, announces the fourth annual Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week (JGSAW), which takes place from February 5th through 11th. Initiated in 2020 with organizational partners across the nation, JGSAW serves to educate the community about the importance of screening for genetic diseases and to raise awareness about testing resources. Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week was officially recognized in the morning orders by the Georgia State Legislature according to the Proclamation Declaring Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week. The goal for JGSAW is to continue to drive awareness about the importance of genetic testing to encourage more people to get screened and to gain the support of donors who make JScreen possible.
Now in its 10th year, JScreen makes genetic testing simple, accessible, and affordable with its easy-to-use at-home saliva kits. JScreen’s reproductive test gives prospective parents a deep understanding of their genetic makeup and the risk of having a child with a genetic disease. If a couple’s risk is elevated, genetic counselors privately address their results by phone or video teleconference and provide options to help them plan for the health of their future children. JScreen’s cancer genetic test alerts a person to their risk for hereditary cancer. Anyone with positive results can take action for the prevention or early detection of many common cancers. By providing convenient at-home access to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education, and genetic counseling services, JScreen strives to prevent devastating genetic diseases and ensure a healthy future for all.
“Our #1 goal is to ensure generations of healthy children and adults by preventing genetic diseases and hereditary cancer. The more people we educate and test, the closer we are to achieving our goal,” says Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, Executive Director of JScreen.
Why Genetic Testing Matters:
Eighty percent of babies with genetic diseases are born to parents with no known history of that disease. Through early genetic screening, potential parents can determine the risk of having a child with a genetic disease before pregnancy, giving them options for family planning and helping to ensure the health of their future children. Approximately 10% of cancers are hereditary, meaning they are related to genetic changes that are passed down in a family. Cancer genetic testing identifies people who are at risk so they can take action to prevent cancer or detect it at an early, treatable stage.
“While JScreen’s roots are in the Jewish community, everyone can benefit from comprehensive genetic testing and counseling,” said El-Mahdi Holly, State Representative of Georgia HD116. “For the fourth annual Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week, the goal is to ensure that everyone, no matter your race, religion, or background, has access to genetic testing and that all community members have the knowledge to take action, take control, and get screened.”
During JGSAW, JScreen is offering a $72-off coupon code. People can register for testing at www.jscreen.org and use code JGSAW23 at checkout to receive the discount.
For more information about JScreen testing and to become a donor, please visit www.jscreen.org.
Proclamation Declaring Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week
By: Michael Wilensky
Designating the week of February 3rd as Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week in Georgia and other purposes.
WHEREAS everyone is a carrier for a number of genetic diseases, and there are certain genetic diseases that are more common in certain ethnicities.
WHEREAS, Jewish people are among the ethnic groups at high-risk for certain genetic diseases, some of which cause early death or severely debilitating symptoms. Non-Jewish people can also be carriers of these and other genetic diseases.
WHEREAS, genetic screening is recommended for any couple thinking of starting or expanding their family.
WHEREAS, carriers are healthy individuals who unknowingly have a mutation in a disease gene. They do not have symptoms, thus the only way they can know if they are a carrier is to get tested or to have an affected child.
WHEREAS, carrier couples have a twenty-five percent risk, with each pregnancy, of having a child affected by the genetic disease they both carry.
WHEREAS, many couples are only offered genetic testing once they are already pregnant and for a limited number of diseases. Educating the community about the importance of comprehensive pre-conception screening is essential to afford couples more options to plan ahead.
WHEREAS, Jewish people are also at higher risk to have mutations in genes (e.g. BRCA) that increase the risk for certain cancers, and knowing those risks can be lifesaving.
WHEREAS, genetic screening is now easily accessible to those in Georgia and nationwide via at-home screening on saliva.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that the week of February 3rd shall be set aside and officially designated as Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week in Georgia.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to make appropriate copies of this resolution available for distribution to the public and the press.
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