Online Meeting – 15.03.2021 and 16.03.2021

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, EnGagE will not host any in-person meetings in 2021. On March 15th and 16th, 40 EnGagE members from more than 25 European countries, Israel, The United States, and Canada met online. This effort was led by Kristiina Tammimies and her team in Sweden.

The Chair and Working Group Leaders provided an update on the Network’s progress and the next steps of EnGagE were discussed. The Task Force Monitoring Tool (State-of-the art of PsyGCT in Europe) gave an update on the questionnaire that was circulated among all members. With this questionnaire, we aim to provide a systematic overview on the current state of genetic testing and counselling in clinical psychiatry (PSYGCT) in Europe. Furthermore, we reviewed different options for developing and sharing educational material on PSYGCT with the scientific and general population. The Task Forces Translation of Research Methods and Questionnaires; Developing Curriculum Content; and Guidelines and Practice Recommendations provided an update. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, health care professionals across the world have moved from in-person patient appointments to remote options. This also affects genetic counselling and is a great opportunity for EnGagE to investigate the potential of alternatives to face-to-face genetic counselling in real-life settings. This is of particular interest due to the severe shortage of mental health professionals adequately trained in psychiatric genetics. The Task Force Alternatives to Face-to-Face Genetic Counselling discussed several options to pursue.

Both days ended with open access lectures. These were well attended by both EnGagE members and others interested in the field of PSYGCT. On Monday, Julia Perry (Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany) gave an excellent overview on Ethical issues of clinical psychiatry genetic counselling and testing. On Tuesday, Jacob Vorstman (Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada) provided an exemplary presentation on Closing the gap between recommendation and clinical implementation for diagnostic genetic testing in individuals with neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders.