A/Prof Allison Werner-Lin is from the School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania. She is also senior advisor, US National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and we are delighted to welcome her to the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Studying the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomic technologies is vitally important to identifying pathways towards greater engagement in personalised medicine, thereby extending the potential of genomic discovery. Yet, too often, psychosocial genomics research only includes individual perspectives and adaptations. When families are included, the focus is on the uptake of genetic testing by first-degree relatives and limited attention, if any, is given to other family members related by blood, law, or choice. Dr Werner-Lin’s research considers the ways families engage with genomic medicine and identifies how engagement is driven by ongoing family dynamics, social contexts, complex disease histories, and grief. Her work suggests practice models informed by family systems and developmental perspectives can support patient engagement in genomic medicine to reduce psychosocial harms.
Allison Werner-Lin’s research addresses the intersection of genomic discovery and family life. Her work seeks to broaden social work’s guiding ‘person-in-environment’ framework to include genetic variation as a core feature of assessment, one in constant interaction with developmental, sociocultural, and environmental contexts. Presently, her work addresses the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of emerging genomic technologies in reproductive, pediatric, adolescent, and young adult populations with inherited cancer predisposition syndromes.
She is among the first to explore the psychosocial challenges unique to women and men of reproductive age who carry a genetic mutation (BRCA1/2), which exposes carriers to elevated risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. She holds appointments with the Clinical Genetics Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute where she oversees psychosocial research addressing hereditary tumor predisposition syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. She is a member of the Scientific Committee governing the International Meeting on Psychosocial Aspects of Hereditary Cancer, serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, where she serves as facilitator of the Cancer Special Interest Group, and the National Academies of Practice in Social Work.
Date: Monday 10 December 2018
Time: Presentation: 1-2pm
Venue: VCCC Building, Level 7 Lecture Theatres
Catering: Light lunch served from 12.30pm