09 Dec 2021

Jnetics on Campus – For the Second Year Running University Screening Week Exceeded All Expectation!

Jnetics delivered its second University Screening Week (GUSW) from November 22nd – 28th 2021. Jnetics on Campus – University Screening Week was a week-long virtual event through which Jewish university students across the UK were able to take part in carrier screening for 47 of the most severe Jewish genetic disorders (JGDs) for free and from home. Sign Ups to the event exceeded all expectation, with 225 students, across the whole of the UK signing up.


Jnetics on Campus is Jnetics’ flagship education and screening initiative focusing on Jewish students at university in the UK. Through Jnetics on Campus, students are educated about JGDs and the importance of carrier screening in their prevention, and then able to access free and responsible carrier screening for 47 of the most severe recessive JGDs. Via screening, they have the opportunity find out if they ‘carry’ a JGD and therefore gain the crucial information they need to avoid passing on a severe and incurable disorder to their future children.


“Participating in Jnetics on Campus – USW was quick and easy”, Greg Blank, Programme Manager explained. “Students first pre-registered online and chose one of the many virtual screening appointments available across the week. Then they received a screening pack in the post containing a saliva kit. Their virtual appointment took place via video-call with a trained volunteer ‘screening advisor’ during which the saliva sample given. After the appointment, students simply returned their sample to Jnetics in their prepaid return envelope. Results will be returned via email from the Jnetics dedicated genetic counsellor up to 16 weeks later, and any carriers identified will be offered a follow-up phone call too”.


To ensure the success of Jnetics on Campus – USW, Jnetics recruited over 25 Campus Reps, whose job it was to advertise the event and encourage their peers to sign up. Rebecca Clayton, one of the Reps who is studying at Birmingham university commented; ‘I wanted to become a Jnetics on Campus rep to help spread awareness about genetic disorders within the Jewish community. I was privileged enough to have the chance to be screened and I want to encourage more young adults to take up this amazing opportunity. I’m excited to be involved in and work with such an amazing organisation and to hopefully make a difference to the future of our community”


This initiative also had the full support of the Union of Jewish Students, University Jewish Chaplaincy, as well several Aish and Chabad Robbonim on campus. All of whom were instrumental in publicising the event and ensuring as many Jewish students as possible were able to take part.


The test covers 47 severe recessive disorders, that although not exclusively Jewish have increased prevalence in the Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities. These disorders, including Tay Sachs, Familial Dysautonomia and Bloom Syndrome, are all devastating, incurable and life shortening conditions that are entirely preventable via carrier screening. Similar international student screening programmes covering these disorders have had immense success- virtually eradicating these disorders form the community.


“The cost for one student to get screened is £300, but Jnetics fully subsidised this cost” Nicole Gordon Jnetics’ CEO explained. “We are hugely grateful to our event sponsors, who wish to remain Anonymous but made this initiative possible”


Jnetics continues to run Jnetics on Campus – USW annually during the month of November. For further information please email greg@jnetics.org.