From the 2007 News Archive
Dean Rothenberg Testifies Before Congress in Support of Genetic Information Nondiscrimination
, Dean, Marjorie Cook Professor of Law, and Founding Director of the Law & Health Care Program at the University of Maryland School of Law, testified before the U.S. House of Representativesí Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions
on Jan. 30 in support of H.R. 493, The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007
. The purpose of the legislation is to protect individuals from discrimination in health insurance and employment on the basis of genetic information. By establishing these protections, the billís sponsors seek to allay concerns about the potential for discrimination and encourage individuals to participate in genetic research and to take advantage of genetic testing, new technologies, and new therapies. The legislation will provide substantive protections to those individuals who may suffer from actual genetic discrimination now and in the future.
Dean Rothenber discussed genetic information discrimination in a recent Baltimore Sun profile
"Almost 20 years ago, Congress committed to investing in the Human Genome Project because it shared the vision of a revolution in medicine that would improve the health of all Americans," said Dean Rothenberg. "To date, close to $3.5 billion has been appropriated to fund the promise of genomic research for the American people. The return on this investment is substantial and has the potential to transform medicine as we know it. But, unless Congress acts to address the perils associated with unauthorized dissemination of citizenís genetic information, we may never be able to make the transition from the research laboratory into the doctorís office."
A member of the Maryland Stem Cell Commission, Dean Rothenberg has written extensively on a wide range of legal issues in health care. Over the last decade she has focused her research primarily on the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic testing and research, including the legislative approaches to genetic information in the health insurance and employment context, the impact of genetic research on racial and ethnic populations and womenís health care, and the use of genetic information in the courtroom. Dean Rothenberg is co-editor of the text Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology and co-author of five articles on genetics and public policy that have been published in the journal Science. Her most recent such article is "Judging Genes: When Should Judges Admit or Compel Genetic Tests?" which encompasses one portion of a broader series of studies on legislative approaches to genetic information in both the health insurance and workplace contexts.
"It is my hope that passage of comprehensive federal legislation safeguarding genetic information will move us forward to honoring our commitment to improving our understanding of genetics and its positive impact on the health of all Americans," said Rothenberg.