The Community Genetics Program (NSW) (CGP) began as the Sydney Tay-Sachs disease Program in 1992, offering Tay-Sachs disease screening to those with Ashkenazi Jewish background or a family history of Tay-Sachs disease. In 1995 the Tay-Sachs disease school screening program was launched in five Jewish day schools in Sydney. The Tay-Sachs disease Program became the CGP when screening for cystic fibrosis was included in 1997, and since that time an additional seven conditions have been added to the program. As genetic screening technology advances, the program and range of conditions included in screening is continuing to develop and expand.
The program now runs with two closely linked arms:
- The School Screening Program which provides genetic education and screening to selected schools in Sydney; and
- The Community Screening Program which provides genetic education and screening through Wolper Jewish Hospital for adults prior to marriage or as part of family planning
The CGP works closely with the NSW Health Genetics Service, which provides educational and genetic counselling services to clients of the program.
In 2017, a new program was made available to the community. The BRCA Community Screening Program offers genetic testing for BRCA faults to members of the Jewish community over the age of 18 years. These faults cause an increased chance of developing breast and/or ovarian cancerBRCA website section).