HudsonAlpha, Miles College to collaborate on genomic health program


March 29, 2021 (Huntsville, Ala.) – Starting next month, faculty and staff at Miles College in Fairfield, Ala. will have the opportunity to participate in genomic health screening through a collaboration with the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the HudsonAlpha Health Alliance

This collaboration involves the implementation of comprehensive clinical genetic testing offered as a wellness benefit. As a result of the HudsonAlpha collaboration, Miles College faculty and staff will be able to learn valuable health information – such as their risks for certain diseases and how they may respond to certain medications – through genomic testing. 

Employees who choose to have genomic screening through the Miles College employee wellness program can select the type(s) of information they would like to receive from the screening test. Employees can choose to receive information about disease risk, medication response, or both. 

While most diseases are not caused by a specific change in a person’s DNA, there are some genes in which changes are known to cause a significantly increased risk of disease. The genomic screening test will look for known changes in a set of genes that are associated with an increased risk for an “actionable” disease. 

Miles College faculty and staff can also learn how specific areas of their DNA might predict whether certain medications will be effective or if they are likely to cause adverse drug reactions. Often medications will prove effective for one person, while simultaneously ineffective for another person. 

This program includes clinical decision support and test-specific education for participants and physicians. The program will be managed with strict adherence to Miles’ privacy standards, quality protocols and supervision for the purpose of improving health outcomes.

Colleges, universities, health systems, self-insured employers, tribal nations and physician networks work with the HudsonAlpha Health Alliance to develop customized genomic health screening programs for their patient or employee populations. 

“We are excited to partner with HudsonAlpha Health Alliance on this genomic health program,” said Bobbie Knight, President of Miles College. “Faculty and Staff who wish to participate in this opportunity can gain valuable knowledge about their health by doing so. We’re glad to be a part of this program because it emphasizes the role of preventative medicine and encourages proactive healthcare choices.” 

The information we learn from genomic testing can provide insights into early disease risk detection and intervention, help us make better health decisions, and even target health therapies that lead to better health outcomes. The HudsonAlpha Health Alliance was built to enable employers to advance their wellness programs through a collaboration with HudsonAlpha Health Alliance’s team of scientists, clinicians, and educators.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to treatment or medications, but genomic testing can help individuals take a more active role in their healthcare,” said Devin Absher, PhD, HudsonAlpha faculty investigator and director of genomic health. “It’s great to be working with the people of Miles College on this genomic health program.”

The HudsonAlpha Health Alliance has similar programs in place with groups such as East Alabama Medical Center and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. For more information about how the HudsonAlpha Health Alliance can help you develop a customized genomic screening program for your group, visit https://hudsonalpha.org/alliance or email info@hahealthalliance.org

About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.

About HudsonAlpha Health Alliance: By integrating our expertise in genomics, patient engagement and education, as well as clinical decision support, the HudsonAlpha Health Alliance, LLC works with groups such as health systems, physician networks, and self-insured employers to develop customized genomic health screening programs for their patient or employee populations.

About Miles College: Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution located in metropolitan Birmingham within the corporate limits of the City of Fairfield. The noble founders of the institution saw educated leadership as the paramount need in the black community. Miles, which is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by Commission on Colleges for the awarding of Baccalaureate Degrees, is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham, Alabama designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).