By Anne Greb, MS, CGC, 23andMe Lead, Medical Schooling
For Genetic Counselor Consciousness Day this 12 months, we wish to rejoice the necessary position genetic counselors play in healthcare, however we additionally wish to educate folks about how genetic counselors may also help them type by their check outcomes and household well being historical past in making necessary medical choices.
A future during which genetic and genomic well being data is a part of medical care is across the nook, providing hope for extra customized medication and illness prevention. Will probably be genetic counselors who assist us get there.
What We Do
The best description of what we do (I’m a genetic counselor) is to assist folks assess threat in making vital choices about their well being. These could possibly be choices about things like most cancers therapy, or being pregnant, or uncommon illness interventions. Whereas genetics is a part of the equation, it’s not at all the one factor a genetic counselor considers. We are sometimes concerned earlier than a genetic check is finished. Even serving to an individual determine whether or not testing is true for them. Usually a genetic counselor is required proper at a vital resolution level in an individual’s life. A genetic counselor has the coaching and understanding to satisfy the gravity of these moments.
Sadly, there are too few genetic counselors to satisfy this rising demand. Over the following decade that demand is barely going to get greater. A current estimate initiatives the sphere goes to develop by more than 25 percent, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What’s to Come
In some ways, this large enhance in demand is what we anticipated way back with the mapping of the human genome. Now greater than ever genetic discoveries and new applied sciences are getting used to diagnose uncommon ailments, or assist tailor pharmaceutical approaches to therapy, or establish illness threat. On prime of that, the widespread use of direct-to-consumer genetic testing has inspired increasingly more folks to study their very own genetic predispositions, prompting discussions with their healthcare suppliers.
Whereas we await present efforts to construct the ranks of genetic counselors, it’s these healthcare suppliers who’re left to debate genetic points with sufferers. Proper now, a lack of information and coaching for these suppliers is usually an impediment, so offering genetic training and assets particularly for medical professionals is significant to assist make sure that genetics turns into part of medical care.
That’s a part of my position as a genetic counselor and lead of medical training at 23andMe each inside the firm, but additionally externally. I’m usually participating with different healthcare professionals to determine one of the best ways to include genetics into medical care.
I’m not alone. Certainly, in a current Nationwide Society of Genetic Counselors Skilled Standing Survey, 45 % of genetic counselors reported that training and coaching performed a major position of their job-related actions. Whereas training is not at all the one factor we do as genetic counselors, it’s an necessary a part of the work. And as a genetic counselor at 23andMe, I can see how this surge in direct-to-consumer genetic testing presents a teachable second. We all know from research that about 30 % of direct-to-consumer genetic testing clients ask their healthcare suppliers about their outcomes., This gives these suppliers a chance to have interaction with their sufferers in necessary discussions, and use these moments to replace and talk about household well being data. Main care suppliers who usually have long-standing relationships with sufferers could also be greatest positioned to supply assist when sufferers uncover surprising findings because of one in all these exams, and so they can refer them to genetic counselors to assist navigate the following steps.
So in recognition of Genetic Counselor Consciousness Day this 12 months, let’s take into account the work that genetic counselors do to assist not simply customers of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, however healthcare suppliers as effectively.
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