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Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases

About

The Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases program, is a thought leader in the prevention of Jewish genetic diseases. Science-based and mission driven, the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases program leverages advances in genetic technology to identify carriers for severe and often fatal childhood diseases. The aim of our advocacy and education efforts is to expand access to preconception genetic education, screening, and counseling.



Einstein advocates: Alisa Polyak, Dr. Adele Schneider, and Dr. Chani Yondorf

There are no cures for Jewish genetic diseases, but prevention, through screening, is possible. Einstein's Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases program recommends screening for 101 preventable Jewish genetic diseases. The panel includes 47 genes relevant to the Ashkenazim, 37 genes relevant to the Sephardi and Mizrahi communities, and 17 genes relevant to all people of Jewish heritage.

You can make informed health decisions by screening before becoming pregnant. A blood test provides information that can help with family planning. The results show whether you have an altered copy of a gene in your genetic makeup. Get screened if:

  • You are Jewish, have a Jewish parent, grandparent, or any Jewish ancestry
  • You are the Jewish member of an interfaith or interethnic couple
  • You are considering the use of donor eggs, sperm, or the donor is Jewish
  • You or your partner are considering becoming pregnant

A carrier is a person who has a disease, but is not affected by the disease and can pass it on to their biological children. Both parents need to be carriers of the same disease in order to pass it on. Autosomal recessive genetic diseases are the diseases that a carrier passes on.

Couples where each member is a carrier for the same disease CAN have healthy children. A genetics professional can explain your reproductive options, including:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
  • Donor egg and/or sperm and prenatal diagnostic testing

Financial assistance to support your reproductive options is available through community organizations.


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Staff

Sheri Minkoff

Sheri partners with community leaders from organizations, universities, and synagogues to prevent Jewish genetic diseases by building awareness through education. She advocates for affordable and accessible counseling and screening of these diseases for young adults.
Email Sheri at preventJGD@einstein.edu


Cheryl Yondorf, MD

OB-GYN Physician

As a member of the Einstein Center for Jewish Genetic Diseases team, Dr. Chani Yondorf, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, advocates for affordable and accessible counseling and screening for Jewish genetic diseases.


About Our Founder

Lois B. Victor, Founder and Trustee of Einstein Victor Center (currently known as the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases)

Originally founded in 2002 by Lois B. Victor, in partnership with Einstein Healthcare Network, Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish genetic diseases was created to advocate, educate, and prevent Jewish genetic diseases. Ms. Victor lost two children to a Jewish genetic disease before a test for the disorder became available. The experience galvanized her commitment to ensuring that no family endure the heartache of a preventable illness by making certain Jews of childbearing age are screened and get the information they need to have healthy children. Ms. Victor is a native of Boston and a long-time resident of South Florida, and continues to serve on the Advisory Committee.

Ms. Victor believes that we continue to impart the message that these diseases are all preventable and that a simple blood or saliva test can change your life.


Adele Schneider, MD, FACMG

Dr. Adele Schneider served as director of clinical genetics at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and as medical director for the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases. In retirement she continues to advocate for the prevention of Jewish genetic diseases. Learn more about Dr. Schneider here.

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