Precision Medicine Conference spotlights expanding field of pharmacogenomics in clinical practice

Dr. Larisa Cavallari leads a session on pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Larisa Cavallari leads a session on cardiology pharmacogenomics.

Implementing pharmacogenomics into clinical practice and education took center stage at the inaugural Precision Medicine Conference hosted by the University of Florida College of Pharmacy on March 10-12.

Designed for practicing pharmacists and pharmacy educators, the conference featured a pharmacogenomics certificate program and a workshop on teaching pharmacogenomics. Attendees had the opportunity to undergo personal genotyping for selected pharmacogenomic variants and apply their own genetic information to solve patient cases during the program.

More than 150 participants from 30 states and multiple countries traveled to Orlando for the event. The group represented a wide-range of pharmacogenomics interest areas, including hospital and community pharmacy practice, education and industry.

“The conference attracted an incredibly diverse group that reflects the many different directions that the field is going,” said Kristin Weitzel, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research at UF and association director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program.

Experts in precision medicine from eight institutions, including the University of Florida, led discussions and training activities around successful strategies to implement pharmacogenomics into practice. The conference covered precision medicine’s role in many clinical topics, including oncology, cardiology, pain management, psychiatry, neurology and infectious diseases.

Pharmacists are increasingly seeing examples of pharmacogenomic test results in their daily interactions with patients, and the Precision Medicine Conference was designed to give these clinicians the needed knowledge and experience to engage in this emerging field.

“There is incredible interest in pharmacogenomics, but there are few ways for clinicians to learn about the field and apply it to their practice,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor of the UF College of Pharmacy and director of UF Health’s Personalized Medicine Program. “It is really important to our profession that we equip practitioners with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully implement pharmacogenomics.”

Conference organizers said the event far exceeded their expectations, especially given the level of enthusiasm and engagement that participants provided.

“It was exciting to see the large turn out and the high level of enthusiasm about pharmacogenomic implementation among participants,” said Larisa Cavallari, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research at UF and director of the Center for Pharmacogenomics. “Pharmacists are often the only pharmacogenomics experts at their institution, and to be able to have everybody together and learn from each other is a great opportunity to advance the field.”

Continuing pharmacy education was available to participants and accredited by the Office of Continuing Pharmacy Education. To learn of more CPE opportunities, please visit: http://cpe.pharmacy.ufl.edu/.