Welcome to The Short Read, our weekly peek behind the curtain at the people who make this amazing community tick. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for the latest installment.

This month the medical genetics community will converge on Phoenix, AZ for the annual meeting of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and to celebrate this amazing gathering over the coming weeks The Short Read will be all about this fabulous frontier for genomics.

Today we chat to paediatric geneticist and Medical Director of ACMG David Flannery. David joined the ACMG in 2014, bringing a unique expertise in healthcare economics and genetic services to the College. “The ACMG is approaching its next stage in maturation as a professional society at the same time that the genomic ‘revolution’ in medicine is approaching,” he said on his appointment. “I hope to contribute to making the ACMG the recognized source for information about genetics and genomics in medicine as well as the organization which advocates for its members and for patients to ensure that the vision of personalized, genomic healthcare comes to fruition.”

David Flannery ACMG

David B. Flannery, MD, FACMG, Medical Director, ACMG

What are you working on right now?

Preparing talk “The Road to Precision Medicine: Issues and Opportunities” for the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved Annual Conference

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work at the moment?

The great amount of uncertainty about the direction of health care and scientific policy

Name one big development that you would like to see in your field the next 18 months.

If only we could predict the future. But we can’t. The next big breakthrough is always unpredicted, although it looks completely obvious in retrospect.

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I did a pretty good job of teaching hundreds, if not thousands of medical students, residents and genetic counselling students over a 29 year career at the Medical College of Georgia. That, and also I am proud of how my sons have turned out. My wife might deserve more of the credit than me, but we worked at it, balancing career and parenting.

Which scientists, living, dead, or fictional, would you invite to dinner, and why?

Walter Nance. He has more “ideas” in a day than most people have in a month or year, and is a lot of fun to sit around and talk with.

What advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

Take some business courses!


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The views expressed in this Short Read are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.


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