November 14 is Genetic Counselor Awareness Day

Join UNC's 20 genetic counselors in celebrating the third annual Genetic Counselor Awareness Day.

November 14 is Genetic Counselor Awareness Day click to enlarge UNC genetic counselors attend the recent North Carolina Medical Genetics Association meeting.
November 14 is Genetic Counselor Awareness Day click to enlarge The UNC Reproductive Genetics team includes six genetic counselors and an MFM geneticist.

Thursday, November 14, 2019 is National Pickle Day, National Spicy Guacamole Day, and (most importantly) the third annual Genetic Counselor Awareness Day. As genomics is increasingly incorporated into healthcare to deliver the promise of personalized medicine, genetic counselors have a vital role in helping make genomics understandable and accessible to all. Genetic counselors have masters-level training that combines medical genetics knowledge with counseling and communication skills. They help integrate genomics into medical care for patients and families across the lifespan.

UNC is fortunate to have 20 genetic counselors in varied roles in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Genetics, and in the McLendon Clinical Laboratories. Most of these genetic counselors are involved in direct patient care, using medical and family histories to identify the most appropriate test, helping patients and families understand genetic conditions and tests, and supporting informed decision making. UNC genetic counselors are also involved in clinical translational research at UNC and in the UNC Program for Precision Medicine in Health Care (PPMH), which aims to transform patient care through evidence-based precision medicine. They also contribute to the education of medical and genetic counseling trainees through lectures as well as clinical training and supervision. Several UNC genetic counselors were instrumental in planning the recent North Carolina Medical Genetics Association meeting, which was held at UNC on November 1, 2019.

UNC genetic counselors are key players in UNC’s mission “to improve the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians and others whom we serve.” This Genetic Counselor Awareness Day, consider celebrating with us by supporting the “Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act of 2019” (H.R. 3235). If passed, this bill would allow CMS to recognize certified genetic counselors as healthcare providers, which would improve the quality of patients’ healthcare and reduce the costs of genetic services. Learn more about the bill and how you can show your support: http://bit.ly/35zfpyi.

Genetic counselors at UNC include Elysia Davis, Kelly Gilmore, Emily Hardisty, Ginger Hocutt, Diane Vargo and Rachel Veazey of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Laura Braunstein, Kristin Clinard, Jennifer Mathews, Yezmin Perilla-Youg and Alexis Poss of the Department of Pediatrics; Stefanie Finch, Kate Foreman, Katie Garbarini, Jenny Goldstein, Tracy Grant, Kristy Lee, Ashlynn Messmore and Julianne O’Daniel of the Deaprtment of Genetics; and Tom Felton of UNC McLendon Clinical Laboratories.