Ready for genomics?

“Ready for Genomics?”: A stimulating collective reflection

On March 20, 2019, Génome Québec welcomed close to one hundred participants for a unique participatory conference.

Masterfully hosted by the outstanding Stéphan Bureau, the event brought together a lineup of expert guest speakers from a wide range of fields including genomics, ethics, communications, health, education and politics. They presented insightful, relevant and thought-provoking ideas and then opened the floor for a stimulating exchange and discussion with participants.

We wish to warmly thank the guest speakers and participants, who contributed to this strategic reflection by sharing their different viewpoints and experiences.

We would also like to thank the Pôle santé HEC Montréal and the Association des communicateurs scientifiques du Québec for their valuable collaboration.

See photos of the event

What’s next?

This conference was the culmination of a public consultation carried out over several months in order to better understand the perceptions and concerns of Quebecers regarding genomic medicine and establish an effective communication strategy.

Génome Québec will use the information gathered during this exercise to develop a public education strategy, which will include tailored training and outreach tools to provide users, decision makers and citizens with the information they need to make informed choices and decisions on adopting this promising disruptive technology.

In collaboration with

With the support of


Guest Speakers

Stephan Bureau is a journalist, TV and radio animator in addition to being a high quality interviewer. He produces and animates programs and documentary series for TV and radios.

Marie-Hélène Jobin is a full professor in the Logistics and Operations Management Department at HEC Montreal. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Laval University, and an MBA in Operations and Decision from the same university.

She is the MSc Program Director at HEC Montréal and Associate Director of HEC Montreal Pôle Santé, a research, training and knowledge transfer center in healthcare management. She is actively involved in a multi-disciplinary team of faculties, students and professionals, and contributes to projects with genomic and health organizations, as well as public health board.

Her expertise lies in the area of performance management, process improvement, lean approach, change management and innovation. She has published papers and cases on manufacturing scheduling, outsourcing, process improvement, performance and results-based management. She teaches at the EMBA, MBA, MSc and DESS level.

Ms. Jobin is the former Director of her Department. She was also the Director of the Case Center at HEC Montréal for five years and launched the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, an electronic publication.

As a professional, she has frequently acted as a consultant and trainer for the public, para-public and private sectors. In the public sector, she has helped many government organizations implement performance management frameworks and facilitate continuous improvement event (Kaizen). On the international level, she has participated in the executive training program and she also carried out consulting mandates.

Nathalie Bolduc is a genetic counsellor with over 20 years of experience. She is currently the Director of Clinical Genetics for Biron Health Group. She has worked in research with French Canadian families affected by the BRCA genes and later joined the McGill University Health Centre, where she has progressed in several clinical settings, including prenatal diagnostics, reproductive technologies, and pediatric and adult genetics. From 2008 to 2015, she directed the provincial program in predictive testing for Huntington’s disease. She worked alongside a First Nations community to develop educational videos in three languages dealing with Huntington’s disease. From 2007 to 2013, she served as President for the Association des conseillères et conseillers en génétique du Québec, and in 2017, as President of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors.

Ms. Bolduc makes it her priority to adapt and communicate scientific and clinical information using clear, straightforward language suited to all types of audiences. She is especially interested in the use of technology to provide access to genomics services and in the role played by genetic counsellors in integrating genomics in front-line health care and in preventive medicine.

Vardit Ravitsky is Associate Professor at the Bioethics Program, School of Public Health, Université de Montréal and Director of Ethics and Health at the Center for Research on Ethics. Ms. Ravitsky is Vice President of the International Association of Bioethics, member of the Standing Committee on Ethics of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and of the Institute Advisory Board of CIHR's Institute of Genetics. She is also a member of the National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) Genomics & Society Working Group. Previously, she was faculty at the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prof. Ravitsky's research focuses on the ethics of genomics and reproduction and covers a variety of topics such as: public funding of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF); the use of surplus frozen embryos; posthumous reproduction; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD); gamete donation; epigenetics; prenatal testing, in particular the ethical, social and legal aspects of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT); germline and somatic gene editing; and mitochondrial replacement. She published over 120 articles and commentaries on bioethical issues. She holds a BA from the Université Paris-Sorbonne, an MA from the University of New Mexico in the US, and a PhD from Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Emmanuelle Trépanier is a family physician at the Groupe de médecine de famille universitaire (GMF-U) of Verdun, affiliated with the Université de Montréal, in the CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. She is a clinician and researcher, member of the research Chair in the evaluation of advanced technologies and practices on citizen and patient engagement in the transformation of organizations and the health system at the CHUM Research Centre. She is currently completing her Masters studies in health administration at the Université de Montréal. The patient population she follows is diverse, though an important part of her clinical activities focuses on the care of teens and young adults struggling with psychosocial difficulties. Her research interests include patient engagement in health governance and the organization of primary care, including the care to young patients with complex issues, in transition from pediatric care and services to adult care. Her current work focuses on the involvement of resource patients at the strategic level of the GMF-U of Verdun and she is also working on the evaluation of a community care model for young people with psychosocial difficulties as well as a tool to support primary care involvement in the transition of care.

After twenty-two years, they found! Patrick was part of the crew of patients who participated in the various diagnostic odysseys, sailing on the trial errors, trying to find a solution to an unknown problem. Thanks to genetic research, technology caught up with him before the end of this journey. This genetic science came to finally guide him to less turbid waters. His disease, CTLA4 (Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-Associated protein 4), a faulty gene responsible for regulating the immune system, was detected in this patient in 2016 but discovered by research in 2014. At age forty-three, physical deterioration and infections are now controlled, and daily life has resumed its breath. If the moon gives the sun all its contrast, its life before and after so contrasts just as much.

Daniel Sinnett is a Full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Université de Montréal. He also serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine as well as in the molecular biology and bioinformatics programs. After obtaining his doctorate in 1991 in the Department of Biochemistry at Université de Montréal, Prof. Sinnett completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University (Department of Genetics at the Children’s Hospital). On his return to Montréal in 1994, he was recruited by the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre where he joined the Hematology-Oncology unit in order to form and oversee a research group studying the genetics of childhood leukemia.


Prof. Sinnett is considered by his colleagues as a pioneer in the field of genetics and pediatric oncology. As such, his work has been supported by several funding agencies, including CIHR, the Terry Fox Research Institute, Génome Québec and Genome Canada. He is one of the leaders in a Canadian initiative dealing with precision medicine for children with cancer. His research findings have been published in some 200 articles in prestigious scientific journals. These successes have led to his being named the first holder of the François-Karl Viau Chair in Pediatric Oncogenomics. He is also Director of the Network of Applied Genetic Medicine, one of the strategic networks of the FRQ-S.

Pierre Chastenay holds a master’s in astrophysics from Université Laval and a master’s in science education from the Université de Montréal. From 1988 to 2014 he was in charge of educational activities for the Montréal Planetarium, designing shows, exhibitions, animation material and learning material intended for the Planetarium’s different audiences. Pierre was also the principal spokesman for the institution, granting a large number of radio and TV interviews every year, in addition to hosting the program “Le Code Chastenay” on Télé-Québec. Additionally he’s the author of three works of science popularization for young readers, Je deviens astronome (2002), La Terre, la Lune et le Soleil (2004) and La tournée des planètes (2008), all published by Éditions Michel Quintin. Since 2002 he’s been pursuing his doctoral studies in science education at the Université de Montréal.

Mr Bédard is a lawyer with the law firm Gauthier Bédard in Chicoutimi where he practises in the areas of business law, labour law, institutional law and strategic consulting.

He is well known for his unique expertise on negotiation, crisis management and his knowledge of the structures of the Government of Quebec. He was a member of the National Assembly for 17 years and also was a member of the Government of Quebec under the leadership of Madame Marois, who was the premier at the time. During his career, he has held the positions of President of the Treasury Board, Minister responsible for Government Administration, Minister responsible for the region of Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean and government House leader. He passed bill 1 concerning the Integrity in the Public Contracts Act and modified the policy of the Government of Quebec regarding the Management of Major Crown Projects and the recruitment and staffing system of the Quebec’s public service.

As Senior VP, brand strategy, Stéphane Mailhiot is in charge of strategic planning for the Montreal office. With his team, he ensures the consumer remains at the heart of all we do, inspires creativity, and allows each of our clients, whether French-speaking or English-speaking, to achieve their objectives.

You can hear Stéphane on Bêtes de pub, a segment of Médium Large, broadcast on Ici Radio-Canada Première (French only). Along with Arnaud Granata, Vice-President and Editorial Director of Infopresse, Stéphane analyzes and comments on current events in the fields of communications and marketing. Together, they wrote “Tout ce que les publicitaires ne vous disent pas,” published by Éditions La Presse.

Prior to joining Havas Worldwide Canada, Stéphane was a strategic planner at lg2, where he led brands such as Desjardins, OKA Cheese and Lotto-Max. He also contributed to several campaigns honoured for both their creativity and performance.

Stéphane holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from UQAM and a DESS in Communications-Marketing from HEC Montréal. Since 2008, he teaches a course titled “Savoir convaincre : confrontation et persuasion” at the Université de Sherbrooke.

A veteran with over twenty years of experience in communications and public affairs, Louis Aucoin serves as head of the public relations firm Tesla RP. He has contributed to the success of private and public companies of all sizes, while supporting causes he holds dear. Frequently invited by the media to comment on current events, Mr. Aucoin has become a trusted source of information on public relations in Québec.


Tesla RP reflects his philosophy of championing his clients’ interests, sharing acquired experience and making the most of every opportunity for success.


In recent years, Mr. Aucoin has been involved in several public affairs and media relations mandates, including cases of perception management, crisis management, reputation management and public affairs in general.


Through these mandates, he has gained wide ranging knowledge in a number of areas, such as natural resources and energy, the pharmaceutical industry, financial institutions, television production, real estate, professional orders, labour relations, public health and education, to name just a few.

Dr. Michel Hébert graduated in 1983 in family medicine from the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval. Until 2006, he worked in the emergency room at the CHUL. He has also worked as a family physician for over 20 years. In 2008, he co-founded the Cité Médicale, a family medicine group/network clinic in Québec City. Naturally, his clinic uses the KinLogix electronic medical record (EMR) software developed by Dr. Hébert’s team.

Founded in 2000, KinLogix Medical develops and implements EMR solutions in medical clinics in Québec. Some 2,500 physicians in 250 clinics are using the KinLogix solution. In October 2012, TELUS Health acquired KinLogix, now part of the “Solutions for Physicians” division.

Dr. Hébert is passionate about teaching and reaching out to the general public. In 2003, he worked with TVA during his cycling tour across Canada to raise funds for the construction of a bereavement room at the emergency room of the CHUL. From September 2007 to September 2010, he joined the team of Salut Bonjour Weekend as a health columnist.


8 h 30 Welcome and coffee
9 h 03 Opening remarks by Génome Québec
9 h 10 Introduction by Stéphan Bureau
9 h 15 Genomics 101 presented by Nathalie Bolduc, BiogeniQ
9 h 25 Diagnosis presented by Pr. Marie-Hélène Jobin, Pôle santé HEC Montréal
9 h 55 Genomics and ethics by Pr. Vardit Ravitsky, Université de Montréal
10 h 25 Pause
10 h 55 Talk on the communication chain with Dr. Emmanuelle Trépanier, Groupe de médecine de famille universitaire de Verdun Patrick Jobin and Pr. Daniel Sinnett, Université de Montréal
11 h 25 Patient testimonial
11 h 45 Group reflection
12 h 00 Healthy lunch
13 h 00 Discussion with Pr. Pierre Chastenay, , Université du Québec à Montréal
13 h 30 Politics and society with Stéphane Bédard, lawyer, cabinet Gauthier Bédard and Stéphane Mailhiot, Havas Montréal
14 h 15 Group activity
14 h 50 Interview with Dr. Michel Hébert
15 h 25 Recap of the day and recommendations for the future with Louis Aucoin, Tesla RP
16 h 00 Thanks and closing remarks
16 h 15 Networking Cocktail

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