Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is working in partnership with Preston North End Community and Education Trust, to deliver a programme of genomics education in local schools.
The programme was launched at a high-profile football match between Preston North End and Sheffield United earlier this year, and will see Preston North End Community Education Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust working in partnership, to deliver key messages and health advice to local schools.
The programme started in May with sessions in five primary schools over a three week period. Educators from Preston North End Community and Education Trust taught the children about the basics of genomes, to cultivate their understanding and literacy in the rapidly developing field of genomics. Children were educated about heredity and DNA sequencing, and even extracted their own DNA in a fun experiment.
Harriet Creighton-Levis, Head of Education and Health at Preston North End Community and Education Trust, said: “The Genomics Education project was a huge hit with Preston primary school pupils! The project educated and inspired both pupils and teachers, bringing genomics to life through the practical lessons delivered by Preston North End Community and Education Trust. The children had fun throughout, increased their knowledge and were enthused to find out more about scientific careers.”
Genomic medicine uses an individual’s DNA to predict, prevent, and more accurately diagnose disease through personalised treatment. Sequencing the genome is a real game changer for the NHS and one of the most important medical advances of the past 70 years.
Deborah Lakeland, Genomics Project Scientist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “Future health interventions will be informed by genomics; therefore it is important to increase public awareness and understanding through education. We hope that the success of our partnership will mean that genomics education will be further expanded into 20 more schools, and eventually all schools in Preston.”
Professor Anthony Rowbottom, Genomics Lead for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “The partnership between Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and Preston North End Community and Education Trust is a fantastic opportunity, and will undoubtedly benefit future patient outcomes”.
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “By linking in with Preston North End Community and Education Trust, we hope that we will inspire these young children into careers within healthcare and genomics in particular; which is an ever expanding field. As the cancer centre for Lancashire and South Cumbria, as well as a leading research centre, it is really important that we are involved in such pioneering programmes. This will enable us to bring emerging treatment and approaches to local patients now, as well as break new ground in healthcare that will benefit future generations.”