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Holly Etchegary


Assistant Professor of Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology)

Room Number: 4M210, MEC
t: 709 864-6605
f: 709 864-6529


What brought me to MUN? What keeps me at MUN?

As the song goes, “I’m a Newfoundlander born and bred,” so Memorial seemed a natural fit to me. From rural Newfoundland, I moved to the big city to pursue studies at MUN in the late 80s. I always enjoyed the feeling on the St. John’s campus; I still do. I left the province to complete postdoctoral work at the University of Ottawa and the National Institute for Population Health. This proved to be a great career move, affording me excellent applied health research and networking opportunities. I still collaborate regularly with many of those colleagues. After posts at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Ontario Health Research Institute and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, I happened to read about an exciting genetics research initiative happening at Memorial. I knew I had to be a part of it. I emailed the primary investigators of AMGGI (Atlantic Medical Genetics and Genomics Initiative) and the rest is history.

My involvement with some final work of the AMGGI project opened up a new GELs (Genetics, Ethical, Legal and Social Issues) research field for me. I’ve been involved with several multi-method genetics projects upon my return to the province in 2009, most recently, the Translational Personalized Medicine Initiative (TPMI). This is an exciting time for GELs research in the province, in part thanks to large projects such as the TPMI, and I want to be a part of it from the early days. I’m fortunate to be able to do just that. I also enjoy teaching, particularly research methods and evidence-based medicine, and the Clinical Epidemiology Unit gives me the opportunity to do that. I look forward to continued exciting research and teaching opportunities with the Division of Medicine. 
2005 PhD, Social/Health Psychology, Memorial University
2005-2007 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa and National Institute of Population Health, Ottawa, ON
Research/Teaching Summary:
Active instructor in the Clinical Epidemiology graduate program, including courses MED 6250, 6200 and 6255.  Contributor for academic half days (e.g., critical appraisal), seminar series and other clinical teaching when requested.
Research interests:
  • Personalized medicine; translation of new genomic discoveries to policy and healthcare practice
  • Informed consent in the context of newborn screening and genomic testing more broadly – what does this mean to stakeholders and how is it achieved in practice (or is it even possible?)
  • Genetic testing interest, uptake and the process of decision-making in this context, in both consumers and clinicians; other healthcare decisions related to genetic risk (e.g., prophylactic surgical decisions)
  • Genetics health services – what are the challenges to incorporating genetic discoveries into clinical practice; what educational tools may be necessary for patients and clinicians
  • Psychosocial impacts of genetic risk and illness, on individuals and families
  • Public and patient engagement with new genomic technologies and personalized medicine

Recent Publications:
Etchegary, H., Pullman, D., Simmonds, C., Young, TL., & Hodgkinson, K. (2015). It had to be
done. Genetic testing decisions for ARVC. Clinical Genetics 88:344-351.
Etchegary, H., Green, J., Pullman, D., Street, C., & Parfrey, P. (2015). Creating community
dialogues: Engaging the public about genetics research. Health Expectations18:1413-1425.
Potter, B., Etchegary, H., Miller, F., Nicolls, S., & Makda, A. (2015). Education and parental
involvement in decision-making about newborn screening: what are the goals and how
might we achieve them? Journal of Genetic Counseling 24(3):400-408.
Etchegary, H., Dicks, E., Watkins, K., Alani, S., Dawson, L. (2015). Decisions about
prophylactic gynecologic surgery: The experience of female Lynch Syndrome mutation carriers. Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice 13(1): 10. doi: 10.1186/s13053-015-0031
Pullman D, Etchegary H. (2015). Clinical Genetics 3: Genetics ELSI (Ethical, Legal and Social
Issues) Research. Methods Mol Bio 1281, 369-82
Etchegary, H. (2014). Public attitudes towards genetic risk testing and its role in healthcare.
Invited article to Personalized Medicine 11 (5) 509-522