Recognizing that genomics is playing an increasingly important role in medicine, the University of California San Francisco Health has appointed its first chief genomics officer (CGO).
Aleksandar Rajkovic, M.D., Ph.D., previously with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, will direct the activities of UCSF’s existing clinical genomics laboratories and work with campus leadership to organize the clinical genetics and genomics services across the health system.
Rajkovic’s first priorities will include understanding the needs of various departments and patient populations for genomic services across the system, particularly as they relate to genetic testing services. Toward that end, he will collaborate closely with UCSF genetics leadership in UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and adult clinical services offered through UCSF Health to identify critical needs and opportunities for growth and partnerships.
“The creation of this new role – one of the first such positions in the world – marks an advance in genomic medicine within our health system,” said Josh Adler, M.D., executive vice president of UCSF Health, in a prepared statement.
In collaboration with the faculty in the Division of Medical Genetics and other physicians on campus, Rajkovic will lead efforts to apply genetics and genomics to clinical care within the health system, UCSF said. He will be a member of the Institute for Human Genetics, UCSF’s hub for human genetics research, education and training, and will work to bolster the IHG’s mission to provide advanced clinical training and a fruitful environment for research in genetics and genomics across UCSF as a whole.
Rajkovic was previously the Marcus Allen Hogge Chair in Reproductive Sciences and director of reproductive genetics at the Magee-Womens Hospital at UPMC. He is an expert in the genetics of fertility and reproduction and has coordinated the university’s programs in clinical genetics for the past decade.
The position of CGO was envisioned as a way to integrate and coordinate the strong clinical genetics services that now exist across the UCSF enterprise, said Mary Norton, M.D., the David E. Thorburn, MD and Kate McKee Thorburn Endowed Chair in Perinatal Medicine and Genetics at UCSF and co-chair of the CGO search committee.
“Genetic testing is changing rapidly,” said Norton in a statement. “There has been a growing recognition, both from clinicians and leadership, that we needed someone who could set institution-wide priorities and integrate the many excellent genetics services on campus – avoiding duplication of effort among different groups and identifying ways for all of us to collaborate more effectively and efficiently.”
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