Published on: 02/15/2018
MIAMI -- Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has been designated the national program office for the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases, an entity dedicated to the prevention of inherited diseases common among the Jewish population.
The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Victor Center will maintain and expand the nation-wide collaborative work of the center in promoting education related to the importance of preconception genetic education, as well the provision of accessible genetic screening and genetic counseling. Nicklaus Children’s has been a regional affiliate of the Victor Center since 2013.
The Victor Center was founded in 2002 by Lois B. Victor in partnership with Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. Ms. Victor lost two children to a Jewish genetic disease before a test for the disorder became available. Today, simple tests can identify carriers of more than 200 disorders, including 50 that are common among the Ashkenazi Jewish population.
Michael Harrington, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, said, “We are pleased to advance the good work of the Victor Center through our new national leadership role. The mission of the Victor Center makes it a perfect fit within our expanding Personalized Medicine Initiative, aimed at tailoring medical management to each child and family’s individual characteristics.”
Founder Lois Victor said, “The Victor Center and Nicklaus Children’s have a shared vision for the future of genomic medicine and a strong commitment to each child and family. My goal in founding the Victor Center was to ensure that families receive targeted information and medical care related to genetic diseases. I am thrilled to have the partnership of Nicklaus Children’s in this endeavor. Together, we can help prevent others from going through what my family went through.”
The Nicklaus Children’s Victor Center will promote awareness of the importance of genetic testing of all prospective parents. As not all individuals are aware of their ethnic backgrounds, families that may not identify as Jewish can also be affected by genetic disorders known to be more prevalent in the Jewish population. By broadening outreach to all parents, Nicklaus Children’s will ensure that more families benefit from advances in genomic medicine.
Einstein Healthcare Network will serve as the Philadelphia-based regional partner, offering educational outreach and counseling in the Pennsylvania region.
The Victor Center has been a longtime thought leader in the prevention of Jewish genetic diseases. Science-based and mission-driven, the center leverages advances in genetic technology to identify carriers for severe and often fatal childhood diseases, including Tay-Sachs, Canavan, glycogen storage, muculipidosis IV, familial dysautonomia, spinal muscular atrophy and cystic fibrosis, to name just a few.
The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Victor Center is under the medical leadership of Dr. Saima Aftab
, Director of the Fetal Care Center
at Nicklaus Children’s. Administrative leadership is provided by Dr. Jennifer McCafferty, Director of the Personalized Medicine Initiative and the Nicklaus Children’s Research Institute
. Debbie Wasserman serves as genetic counselor and outreach coordinator.
About Einstein Healthcare Network
Einstein Healthcare Network is a 1,044-bed integrated delivery network with nearly 9,000 employees serving the communities of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, Pa. Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia is the largest independent academic medical center in the Philadelphia region training over 3,500 health professional students each year with 400 residents in more than 30 accredited programs. The network also provides a comprehensive range of healthcare services through Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, MossRehab, Willowcrest, patient care centers, and a network of more than 700 primary care physicians and specialists throughout the region. For more information, visit www.einstein.edu or call 1-800-EINSTEIN.