Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Leading with Health

Jul 15, 2019

Did you know that the US now has 45 accredited graduate training programs in genetic counseling? It’s a growing field and, in this episode of Leading with Health, Taya Fallen joins me to talk about her work as a genetic counselor.

Taya is a licensed and board-certified genetic counselor in the state of Illinois and the lead genetic counselor at Insight Medical Genetics. She is a graduate of the Genetic Counseling program at Northwestern University, where she is also a core faculty member contributing to the education and development of future genetic counselors.

Highlights include:

4:49 – Genetic counselors have been integrated into many different avenues.

5:10 – There are now 45 accredited graduate training programs in the US in genetic counseling.

5:31 – Vast majority of genetic counselors have a Master’s level education, either in human genetics or genetic counseling. Typically, it’s a 2-year training program.

5:55 – We study laboratory methods, genetics, inheritance patterns, statistics and ethics.

6:15 – The second part of our training is in the psycho-social elements of what we do.

7:20 – In order to practice as a genetic counselor, after your training, you have to provide to the American Board of Genetic Counseling a log book of your clinical training.

7:40 – Students will observe cases, participate in cases, do practicums, and canned cases with actors to give them the skill set and practice they need.

9:55 – The crazy story of how Taya got into genetic counseling.

12:16The patient perspective on genetic counseling.

13:27 – The vast majority of our time is spent asking questions and then listening to patient concerns and what they are hoping will come from our
encounter. Sometimes it’s a one-time visit or multiple visits.

14:38 – Many times people come to us and their first thoughts or concerns are not about themselves; it’s about their children or their siblings.

16:08 – We do quite a bit of educating, but not like a lecture. It’s more of a discussion.

17:10 – In a clinical setting, most often the physicians refer patients to a genetics clinics or counselor.

17:51 – We work alongside oncologists or pediatricians or reproductive geneticists or ob/gyns, maternal-fetal medicine docs or social workers. There are very few solo genetic counseling practices out there that don’t involve some other member of the healthcare team.

18:53 – Insight Medical Genetics’ ambition is to make access to genetic counseling services easier and more available to everyone.

19:50 – The different places in our lives when we might reach out for genetic counseling.

20:38 – More and more, we are meeting with individuals who already had some genetic testing done so that we can help them make sense of the results.

20:50 – We also love working with patients prior to testing … to go over benefits and limitations and detection rates.

23:10 – The information from carrier screening is something you can get before you even conceive.

23:36 – The difference between direct-to-consumer tests and the tests available to genetic professionals.

25:00 – What people learn about their family history.

25:38 – We take a very detailed family history and are trained in what questions to ask to help flush out conditions that might have a single gene cause vs. conditions where perhaps single-gene testing is not currently available.