Jewish Genetic Disease Carrier Screening Coming to the Wilf and Beren Campuses

The Program for Jewish Genetic Health of Yeshiva University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine will be sponsoring Jewish Genetic Disease carrier screenings for YU students on Sunday, April 22, from 11 am to 3 pm on the Wilf campus, and Monday evening, April 30 from 4 to 8 pm on the Israel Henry Beren campus.

Both screening sessions are available exclusively to YU students and require pre-registration and a $250 fee. Registration is limited to 100 students per session, on a first-come, first served basis. A limited number of appointments are still available and pre-payment is mandatory. To register for the Wilf campus screening, visit http://yu.convio.net/Wilfscreening.  To register for the Israel Henry Beren campus screening, visit http://yu.convio.net/sternscreening.

The Program for Jewish Genetic Health provides young Ashkenazi Jewish singles and couples with accessible and affordable options for “open” genetic testing that will identify “carriers”—individuals who themselves are not affected with the specific disorders but whose offspring are at risk if these carriers marry individuals who also are carriers for the same disorders. Approximately 1 in 4 Ashkenazi Jews are carriers for at least one disorder, which include Tay-Sachs disease, familial dysautonomia and Gaucher disease.

For the April 22 and April 30 campus screenings, the Program for Jewish Genetic Health will bring mobile medical services to YU. Screenings will involve genetic counseling sessions, informed consent and blood draws. Generous philanthropic subsidies are allowing the Program to charge participants only $250 for a panel of tests that will screen for 18 Jewish Genetic diseases, a fraction of what this testing would cost if it were conducted through commercial laboratories. In situations of extreme financial hardship, the University will review each case individually to determine the suitability of additional subsidies to ensure that no student is turned away.

“Jewish genetic disease carrier screening allows individuals to take ownership of their own genetic health status and empowers them early on with the information they will need for building healthy families,” said Bruce Lander, executive director of the Program for Jewish Genetic Health. “Thanks to our philanthropic partners we are able to provide a large number of YU students with genetic screening at a very affordable rate.”

The campus screenings follow informational sessions recently held in conjunction with YU’s Student Medical Ethics Society. “The Most Important Test You’ll Ever Take: A Panel on Genetic Screening” featured Rabbi Mordechai Willig speaking alongside a genetic counselor and a mother with an affected child, about the difference between “open” and “closed” testing, the number of diseases for which testing will be offered by the Program, options for carrier individuals and couples, and halachic considerations.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the campus screenings or email jewishgenetics@yu.edu with any additional questions.

The Program for Jewish Genetic Health was established in 2011 to ensure the well-being of families today and to provide a lasting gift of health to the future. Our vision is that nobody in the Jewish community facing a genetic health issue should be deprived of proper care due to lack of awareness, financial barriers or difficulty in navigating the healthcare system. For more information, visit www.yu.edu/genetichealth.