Public Release: 

Roberta A. Pagon receives lifetime award in genetics from March of Dimes

March of Dimes Foundation

TAMPA, F.L. MARCH 27, 2009 -- The founder of a public database that helps doctors analyze the usefulness of genetic tests in making medical decisions is the 2009 recipient of the March of Dimes/Colonel Harland Sanders Award for lifetime achievement in the field of genetic sciences.

Roberta "Bonnie" Pagon, MD, professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, developed the Web site genetests.org in 1992 and today is the principal investigator of this National Institutes of Health-funded program. Dr. Pagon has been a medical geneticist for more than 25 years and also is adjunct professor in the University's departments of ophthalmology and medicine. Her clinical work focuses on genetic eye diseases and syndrome delineation -- reviewing the symptoms of patients who do not have a diagnosis to see if there might be a new disorder.

"Dr. Pagon is responsible for sharing critical information about the diagnosis and management of genetic diseases with physicians worldwide," said Michael Katz, MD, March of Dimes senior vice president of Research and Global Programs, who presented the award today to Dr. Pagon at the Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting of the American College of Medical Genetics held here. "She is a pioneer in the field of medical genetics, and the March of Dimes is pleased to honor her."

In its 15-year history, genetests.org has grown to become an important international resource for genetic testing information. The site promotes the appropriate use of genetic testing in patient treatment and personal decision-making. For her work on GeneTests, Dr. Pagon previously received the American Society of Human Genetics 2006 Education Award.

Dr. Pagon also is a consultant to the Regional Genetics Program of Washington State and an attending physician in the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center Genetics Clinic. She is a member of the board of directors of the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG) and a member of the Clinical Practice Committee of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG).

She is the review board coordinator for the Collaboration, Education, and Test Translation (CETT) Program, which promotes the collaborative development of new tests for rare genetic diseases for use by doctors and patients, and supports the collection and storage of genetic test results so they can be used to guide new research.

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More information about Dr. Pagon's work can be found online at: http://depts.washington.edu/medgen/faculty/pagon.html.

The March of Dimes/Colonel Harland Sanders Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of genetic sciences is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the genetic sciences.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

Contact:
Todd P. Dezen, (914) 997-4608, tdezen@marchofdimes.com
Elizabeth Lynch, (914) 997-4286, elynch@marchofdimes.com

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