ANA Introduces Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) is proud to introduce the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). GARD is an excellent resource to help people review their family history and provide genetic testing for patients, families and communities.

Keeping pace with the ever-expanding body of scientific knowledge about genetic and rare diseases can be an uphill battle for many health-care professionals. Even for those who manage to stay abreast of the latest developments, a major challenge remains: finding the time and resources needed to clearly convey such information to patients and their families.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers health-care professionals free assistance on both fronts through the Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center. Funded by the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD), the center provides health-care professionals and their patients with immediate access to experienced information specialists who can furnish current and accurate information about more than 6,000 genetic and rare diseases.

Since it was established in February 2002, GARD has responded to over 12,000 inquiries on rare and genetic diseases. The requests include many inquiries from physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals, as well as patients and patients' families directed to the site by health-care professionals.

To date, most users have contacted GARD by e-mail at, or by calling the toll-free telephone: (888) 205-2311 or the international access number: (301) 519-3104, which are answered from noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Requests can also be sent to GARD by fax: (240) 632-9164, TTY: (888) 205-3223 or mail: P.O. Box 8126, Gaithersburg, Md. 20898-8126.

People requesting information receive a response from GARD within four to seven business days on average. However, depending on the nature of the inquiry, the turnaround time for inquiries from health-care professionals often is much faster.

If you would like to learn more about the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center, please visit,

Also, please visit the Genetics & Genomics section on ANA’s web site to learn more about the core competencies for nursing.