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Message from the Project Directors

Kathryn Hassell, MD & Janet Thomas, MD


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July 2016


Dear friends and colleagues,


The heat of the summer is on in many of our states as the MSGRC staff has initiated work on some of the ideas and activities that were discussed at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Please read on to learn more and for an exciting announcement! 


Welcome Our New Evaluator!
As many of you remember, MSGRC Evaluator Sharon Homan, PhD, departed from the MSGRC staff in February for an exciting new opportunity as President of the Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago, Illinois. While we have missed her greatly, we are happy to know she has found such a great new opportunity!

We are happy to report our loss had a sliver lining. Many of you may remember Liza Creel, past MSGRC Project Manager. Liza left in 2013 to finish her PhD at Texas A&M and in addition to a faculty position at the University of Louisville is now the new MSGRC evaluator! Liza and the rest of the MSGRC team will be busy in the next couple of months creating a summary of the resources MSGRC will need as it moves towards serving as a resource center for the region. The work and insight from our members at both the Focus Groups and Annual Meeting will be vital in this planning. 
Year 4 Common Evaluation Measures
MSGRC staff was kept busy the month of June with the completion of our Year 4 Common Evaluation Measures. This report gave MSGRC the opportunity to show activities, projects, and meetings from the last grant year. Between June 1, 2015 to May 30, 2016, MSGRC held or supported approximately fifty collaborative sessions (teleconferences, webinars, in-person meetings). We also had over 5,000 visits to our website and currently have 417 "likes" on our Facebook page. We want to thank of all our members for their continued support in these activities!
New Projects in Progress
While MSGRC is currently facing many programmatic transitions, the Annual Meeting was key in identifying potential projects for Year 5 in line with future directions of the RCs. 

During the Telegenetics Working Lunch Session, led by Dr. Dale Alverson, Past President of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), helped generate many ideas for our TG Workgroup. One of these ideas was a case study that would demonstrate effectiveness of telemedicine in genetic clinical services and foster greater uptake in our region. Cook Children's, in Ft. Worth, Texas, is one of the most visible clinics in our region that widely uses telemedicine in their genetics clinic and MSGRC has partnered with them for the case study. To date, we have formed a project workgroup and created an outline of what the case study intends to demonstrate and what questions we need to answer. Click here for a draft outline of the case study. If interested in working on this project or to submit feedback, please contact Marilyn Brown( 

Many of you may also remember the Genetic Services Mapping Project that was completed in Year 4. A past poster summary of the project can be found here. MSGRC is expanding this project to use more sophisticated geocoding as well as gather additional information on genetic clinics in our region. We also plan to potentially gather information on different patient subsets (pediatric, adult, cancer, etc.). This project will serve as an important assessment in the availability of genetics services in our region and which populations may be underserved.

In addition, we are also working with our EP and CA Workgroups on potential project that can be initiated in Year 5. We will continue to update all of our members on these activities!
Other Items of Interest
  • Save the date!: The MSGRC Annual Meeting 2017 will be held from April 20-22. This year we will be visiting a new city, Salt Lake City, Utah. We're excited to be seeing everyone in a great new location!
  • We are currently in the process of updating our workgroup membership. Please look for a poll that will ask you to identify which workgroups that you identify as a member of. Also please indicate if you would like to participate in any new workgroups. As we initiate increased telegenetics activities, we are actively recruiting for new members!
Final Thoughts

We hope many of you are getting in final vacations and activities on these long summer days. Below are a few pictures staff member Marilyn snapped on some of her recent excursions. A great reminder of the beautiful region we live in!

Beautiful desert views on the Vail Trail in Tucson, Arizona



Green and lush greenbelts and creeks in Austin, Texas



Sunrise on the way up to the summit of Long's Peak, one of Colorado's most famed 14,000 foot mountains!

Warm regards,

 Kathryn Hassell, M.D.              Janet Thomas, M.D.
 Project Director                      Associate Project Director
MSGRC staff contact information: 
Kathryn Hassell, Project Director   
Janet Thomas, Associate Project Director
Marilyn Brown, Project Manager -303-477-1976  
Liza Creel, Evaluator       
Joyce Hooker, Director of Social Outreach
Kristi Wees, Social Media Coordinator 
Celia Kaye, MSGRC Consultant                
THI staff contact information:
Camille Miller, Project Administrator 
Sherry Wilkie-Conway, Project Oversight
Stephanie Ondrias, Events Manager
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Grant H46MC24095,The Mountain States Genetics Regional Collaborative for $600,000. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Mountain States Genetics Regional Collaborative, 8501 North MoPac Expressway, Suite 170, Austin, TX 78759
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