Nicholls professor becomes Louisiana’s first certified public health geneticist

THIBODAUX – A Nicholls State University faculty member has become the first certified public health geneticist in the state.


Dr. John P. Doucet, Distinguished Service Professor, acting head of the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the University Honors Program, recently completed the Professional Certificate Program in Public Health Genetics/Genomics at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.

Certified public health geneticists study genetics from a population-wide standpoint to look for trends in such diseases as cancer, diabetes and asthma.

“Normally a patient goes to the doctor to be treated, but the doctor doesn’t look beyond the single patient, or beyond the patient’s immediate family,” Doucet said. “A public health geneticist can help by examining an entire population pool. Does a certain population have a higher rate of a certain disease or disability, and if so, why? Is it genetic? Having public health genomics expertise here at Nicholls creates so many new opportunities for Louisiana – for higher education, for healthcare, and fundamentally for the people, whose health is the whole focus of this new field of medical study.”

Elizabeth Balkite, associate dean of the graduate program at Sarah Lawrence College and coordinator of the institution’s certificate program, said public genetics and genomics is an emerging area of professional importance, and “it is crucial to have people with cutting-edge training.”

“Louisiana is lucky to have Dr. Doucet,” Balkite said.

For additional information about the certificate program, go to To learn more about the biological sciences program at Nicholls, go to