Jehannine Austin on Psychiatric Genetics and Counseling


1:45 “The dream that I’m pushing for. – to actualize – is that psychiatric genetic counseling is the next cancer… there should be hundreds and hundreds of psychiatric genetic counselors.”

10:00 “Empowerment is nice on its own but it’s also necessary to get people to change their behavior.”

16:15 PRS for psychiatric disease: “the best score we will ever be able to construct for schizophrenia will only explain about 25% of the variance.” This may be worth doing but, “can what you’re doing in terms of the testing address those deep emotional needs?”

26:25 JA describes their recent work looking at whether or not pharmacogenetic testing for psychiatric disease is ready for use. Meta-analysis shows some very encouraging signs. How good is the data quality?

26:00 JA on imposter syndrome: “I cringe so hard when I think about that portion of my presidential address.”

44:55 “People kept saying, we do genetic testing for autism, so we should do it for people with schizophrenia.” But is that right?

Today on The Beagle, one of the rock stars of the genetic counseling field, Jehannine Austin, Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. Jehannine has pioneered the field of psychiatric genetic counseling and, more broadly, they have worked energetically for decades to make psychiatric genetic counseling – and all genetic counseling -- an evidence-based discipline. An impactful figure for both the humanity and the rigor they bring to our field, Jehannine shares their perception of where psychiatric genetic counseling is today, speculates a bit on where it is heading.

Kicker: remember that much-discussed incoming Presidential Address at NSGC 5 years ago? Jehannine has learned a few things since then, and there is something they want us to know about imposter syndrome.

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