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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: World Health Day with Clinical Applications Scientist Alyssa Durfey

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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: World Health Day with Clinical Applications Scientist Alyssa Durfey

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The theme of 2024's World Health Day is "My health, my right." This theme highlight's the World Health Organization's belief that everyone has a fundamental right to "quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination."

To celebrate World Health Day, we're delighted to bring you this interview with Alyssa Durfey, Psomagen's Clinical Applications Scientific Manager. She joined the team in early 2024, and has been working diligently to expand Psomagen's clinical sequencing capabilities. 

Alyssa is a 2020 ASCP Top 40 Under Forty laboratory professional, clinical research enthusiast, children’s book author, speaker, and laboratory operations consultant. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Master’s degrees in Global Health and Business Administration, and is currently a doctoral student in Clinical Laboratory Science and Practice. 


 

What excites you about our clinical services in relation to World Health?

"When I joined Psomagen one of the things that I was really excited about was our mission to bring as much testing to as many people as possible and giving them real, actionable direction on their healthcare and on precision medicine." 

How does Psomagen embrace this year's theme, "My health, my right"?

"We embrace the idea of 'my health, my right' by providing accessible testing for anyone essentially that their doctor is ordering the test. What that testing might give them is better insight into their risks of developing Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Testing available to people throughout the US so they can understand better their risks of developing different diseases as well as investigating their options if you will.

"Getting a better understanding of the risks that you have, you know better so you can do better, and choose treatment protocols that will help you succeed and be a healthier person later on."

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges we’re facing in the clinical space for world health?

"One of the biggest challenges we're facing in clinical research right now — I would say accessing information is actually really hard. Not because we can't access, but because we have so much access.  And I feel like in the past, research has been very much like, 'Ok, I don't know what I don't know, so I'm going to investigate.' There's so much opinion out there and there's so much research. It's incredible to see and it's great that we have so much progress, but at the same time I think it makes it difficult for finding those novel variants and changes that really drive health and health decision making. 

"So that is a really big challenge, I think on the other side of it is we are getting much more advanced with our sequencing power and different testing capabilities. Which is awesome, but it also means that we are able to see with a lot greater granularity the nuances between different people's genetic code. 

"I'd say a lot of the nuanced differences in the human genome is part of the challenge that we have in kind of understanding, how do we best address rare disease. So that's where our partnership with Fabric has been very very helpful in that they have an incredible team, they're able to look at the very very small nuances that we're finding with advanced technology that we would've just said, 'Ok that's a variant of unknown significance, move on.' They're like, 'Ok, hold on, there might be some significance here or there.'"

What does the future look like for World Health?

"Where I see global health going in the future is everybody has a right to their genetic information and the knowledge that lies with that. And so having access to that testing I think is the biggest opportunity that we have globally as far as addressing disease before it becomes a major issue that then really continues the health of people as their life goes on." 


Interested in clinical services at Psomagen? You can find out more about our testing panels and sequencing options on this web page