genetic counseling

Colleen Caleshu on GC Burnout

Colleen Caleshu, Senior Director of Research at GeneMatters, received the Jane Engleberg Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2019 for a randomized controlled trial of meditation to improve genetic counselor professional well-being. She received the best abstract award at the 2021 NSGC Annual Conference for part of this work. Colleen is a Ph.D. candidate at Leiden University and a genetic counselor who specializes in cardio genetics and kindness.

Laura and Jordan Brown on New Challenges to Abortion Law and What they Mean for Prenatal Diagnostics

The legal landscape for abortion is changing rapidly, and in ways that will inevitably affect genetic counseling practice in many states. Joining Laura to discuss the new laws and the role that NSGC can play – if the organization decides that protecting reproductive rights is a priority for its membership-- is Jordan Brown, assistant Director at the genetic counseling program at the Ohio State University, vice chair of the NSGC Public Policy Committee, and a member of the newly formed NSGC Task Force looking at the challenges to reproductive rights. Recently, Jordan documented her concern over the response – or lack thereof – to an issue fundamental to GC practice in a blog post on the DNA Exchange.

Jodie Ingles on Cardio Genetics

Today we reach out across closed borders to Australia for a chat with Jodie Ingles, one of the first people anywhere in the world to focus on cardiogenetic counseling. Jodie talks to us about how the field has changed in the last 17 years, and where we are headed next.

Difference or Disability? with Rosemarie Garland Thomson

Rosemarie Garland Thompson is a professor of English and Bioethics at Emory University. She has been called a “thought leader” in disability studies. She is co-editor of About Us: Essays from the New York Times about Disability by People with Disabilities. She is here today to discuss disability rights in the light of prenatal genetic testing.

Racism and Genetic Counseling with Aishwarya Arjunan and Carrie Haverty

Aishwarya Arjunan of Myriad’s Women’s Health and Carrie Haverty of the biotech start-up Miroculus join Laura to discuss dialogues that have cropped up recently on Twitter and in other places against the backdrop of a moment of national reckoning on how racism past and present shapes our society.

Our own accounting includes a look at how exclusion and mistrust have made genetic medicine less effective for some populations than others, how practice can mitigate or perpetuate those inequities, and how to make our field more diverse and welcoming for under-represented groups.

Gillian Hooker on HR3235

“It’s been a crazy time,” says Gillian Hooker, of the first 5 weeks of her year as President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. NSGC is attempting to rally support around HR3235, a long-discussed and long-promised federal bill that would permit CMS to recognize genetic counselors as medical caregivers for the purposes of billing, that FINALLY made it to Congress in 2019. A possible wrench in the gears? ACMG announced last month that it cannot support the bill as written.

Why not? Will it matter?

Gillian comes on The Beagle to answer our burning questions (and to tell us to play nice…).

Alicia Zhou

Color Genomics burst on the scene in 2015, offering breast cancer susceptibility testing at a fraction of the price of other laboratories.

From the beginning, it was clear that their goal was to scale the availability of genetic testing – including genetic counseling. This approach has drawn some skepticism and it has also drawn some competitors. Their experience with scaling the return of results, says VP of Research and Scientific Affairs Alicia Zhou, seemed like a natural fit with the aims of All of Us, the population screening program funded by the US government. The NIH apparently agreed, giving Color the contract to build out an infrastructure for genetic counseling as All of Us begins its 10-year process of giving back results to participants.

Alicia joins us on the Beagle to discuss Color’s core business ($50 cascade screening? Is that… sustainable?) and some of the new challenges and whether or not they’re hiring…

Rayna Rapp

Rayna Rapp is Professor of anthropology and an affiliate at the center for disability studies at NYU.

Laura welcomes Rayna Rapp, feminist, medical anthropologist and all-around sage, who has worked for decades in the study of the social impact of prenatal genetic testing. Her 1999 book, "Testing Women; Testing the Fetus; the Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America," is a classic that has influenced generations of genetic counselors.

Jordan Smoller

Families and individuals dealing with mental illness have lots of questions about genetic testing. Does it work? Can it help doctors choose the right course of treatment? Can it predict who is likely to get sick? Are the tests they are selling on line today the real deal?

Families have questions – do we have answers? Jordan Smoller, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit in Mass General's Center for Genomic Medicine, joins us to discuss the genetic testing options available right now and what might be coming down the road with implications for prediction, diagnosis, or treatment.

Elissa Levin

Elissa Levin was one of the first genetic counselors to work in the direct-to-consumer sector, starting at DNA Direct (remember that?); she’s been at Illumina-spinoff Helix for about 3 years. Helix runs a DTC marketplace, offering an the all-purpose DNA test (exome plus microarray) that can be queried by any of their testing partners. Now Helix has partnered with PerkinElmer to produce a new entry for its own marketplace -- the PerkinElmer GenePrism test.

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