Dr. Rajech Sharkia and Dr. Abdelnaser Zalan
Unit of Human Biology and Genetics
As the Arab society of Israel has unique socio-demographic and cultural characteristics with some common and rare genetic disorders and high rates of consanguineous marriages, that differ from the rest of the population, therefore, implementing genetic counseling and educational programs for this population should be carefully designed and given utmost priority.
In our unit at TRDC, we implement genetic health and educational programs concerning four main topics: (i) basic terms in genetics and genetic disorders, (ii) consanguinity, (iii) genetic testing services and (iv) genetic counseling – a traditional struggle for the studied families and other community members. These programs aim to raise the knowledge level and awareness of the families and the community members and highlight the risks of consanguineous marriages. Furthermore, through these programs we project the emotional sufferings and the economic burden (on both the individual and the society) resulting from the inherited genetic disorders, thus, we do our best to support the families and give them a hand to cope with their specific situation. These efforts are carried out through joined lectures, seminars, workshops, and various educational tools. Recently, some interested members from the affected families started to be involved in these community-based preventive programs.