NSGC NewsRoom

NSGC Expert Media Panel

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Mary E. Freivogel, MS, CGC

NSGC Cancer Expert
Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers/Radiology Imaging Associates

Mary E. Freivogel, is the president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Board of Directors. As NSGC’s cancer expert, Mary can talk about hereditary cancer syndromes and how patients with higher risk of hereditary cancers can understand genetic testing results, navigate treatment options and talk with their family members about their potential risk. Mary also has an interest and expertise in efficient risk assessment and effective sharing of important information among genetic counselors, patients and physicians.

Mary is senior manager of Clinical Service Lines at Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers. When she joined the company in 2009, she established the Risk Assessment and Prevention Program and implemented processes that efficiently identify patients at high-risk for breast cancer. The program helps communicate this risk to patients and their referring physicians. She has presented information at professional meetings, as well as published on the topic in national, peer-reviewed journals.

Additionally, Mary is actively involved with the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the National Consortium of Breast Centers, as well as the American Cancer Society, with regard to breast cancer risk assessment efforts.

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Erica Ramos, MS, CGC

NSGC Personalized Medicine Expert
Illumina 

Erica Ramos is the president-elect of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. As NSGC’s Personalized Medicine Expert, Ramos can discuss next-generation DNA sequencing technologies such as whole genome and exome sequencing. She also is experienced in analyzing lab samples, answering physicians’ questions about genetic testing and helping them interpret and explain genetic test results to patients.

In addition to her role with NSGC, Ramos is an Associate Director of Market Development at Illumina, Inc., a genomics technology company in San Diego, California. There, she focuses on the precision health and screening applications of whole genome sequencing. She also supports multiple company-wide development efforts and educational programs, including the “Understand Your Genome” events.

Ramos attended Southeast Missouri State University and earned a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from University of California-Irvine. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

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Jehannine Austin, PhD, MSc, CGC, CCGC

NSGC Psychiatric Disorders Expert
University of British Columbia

Jehannine Austin is the immediate past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors Board of Directors. As NSGC’s Psychiatric Disorders Expert, Austin can provide a clinical genetics perspective to help people with psychiatric disorders understand the origins of their illness and improve outcomes for the individuals and their families. She can also speak to working with patients to evaluate genetics, family history and environment to understand mental health and develop management plans. Austin specializes in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and postpartum depression.

In addition to her role with NSGC, Austin is a graduate advisor to students in the Genetic Counseling Program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and is an associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics. Austin’s research led to the development of the first psychiatric genetic counseling service to help people understand the causes and risk of mental illness.

Austin completed her under undergraduate degree at Bath University and a PhD in Neuropsychiatric Genetics at the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff in the UK before earning a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the Canadian Association of Genetic Counselors.

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Joy Larsen Haidle

Joy Larsen Haidle, MS, CGC

NSGC Cancer Expert
North Memorial Health Cancer Center

Joy Larsen Haidle is NSGC’s Cancer Expert and can discuss hereditary cancer syndromes such as hereditary breast and colon cancer, and is an active public policy advocate for genetic testing. She is experienced in helping patients who have a higher risk for genetic diseases understand genetic testing results, navigate through treatment options, and talk with their family members about their potential risk.

Larsen Haidle is a leader in cancer genetic counseling who has authored several practice guidelines and published articles on topics such as Lynch syndrome, a disease that increases one’s risk for cancers, particularly of the colon and rectum; and juvenile polyposis, a disorder characterized by polyps in the gastrointestinal tract.

A past president of NSGC, Larsen Haidle is a genetic counselor at North Memorial Health Cancer Center in Robbinsdale, Minn. She is a member of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association and the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancers.

Larsen Haidle attended Buena Vista College and earned a master’s degree in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and is a 2012 recipient of NSGC’s leadership award for most outstanding volunteer.

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Jason Flanagan, MS, CGC

NSGC Women's Health/Reproductive Health Expert
University of South Dakota

Jason Flanagan is NSGC’s Reproductive Health Expert and one of only several genetic counselors in the country with a focus on infertility genetics. He can discuss preconception and prenatal genetics, such as how genetics affect infertility and miscarriage. He can also talk about the process and ethics surrounding preimplantation genetic testing, which is the testing of embryos implanted through assisted reproduction.

An advocate for genetic counseling, Flanagan in 2009 served on a committee that secured licensure for genetic counselors in South Dakota. He also helped bring preimplantation genetic testing to the region.

Flanagan is a clinical associate professor at the University of South Dakota and also lectures at regional and national conferences on the genetics of reproductive medicine. He is also faculty at the Augustana Sanford Genetic Counseling Program, established in 2016. He attended the University of Wisconsin genetic counseling program and is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. He was awarded the Sanford Health Employee of the Year in 2012 and the Sanford Health Star Performance award in 2014.

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Susan Hahn, MS, CGC

NSGC Alzheimer’s Expert/NSGC Ethics Expert
University of Miami

As the National Society of Genetic Counselors Alzheimer’s Expert, Susan Hahn can discuss how she provides clinicians with a framework for assessing patients’ genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, helping to identify which patients could benefit from genetic testing. She can also speak to working with patients to help them understand the complex genetic nature of the disorder, and how family history and life choices can impact risk of the disease.

As the National Society of Genetic Counselors Ethics Expert, Susan Hahn can provide insight on the ethical, legal, and social issues related to genomic medicine. Specifically, she assesses health disparities in access to genetic testing, as well as the lack of genetic variation by ethnicity in genetic research findings.

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Laura Hercher, CGC

NSGC Ethics and Clinical Genetics Expert
Sarah Lawrence College

Laura Hercher teaches, conducts research and writes about the many legal, ethical and social issues in genetics and genomics. She can provide perspective on how these issues affect decisions patients and their doctors make about their healthcare, and about the ethical and clinical implications of rapid advances in the science of genetics.

A genetic counselor since 2001, Hercher is the Director of Student Research at the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College. Her articles and commentary have appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed and popular science publications, including Genome, Wired, Aeon and Scientific American. She is co-founder of the DNA Exchange, a blog for the genetic counseling community, and a regular contributor to Mendelspod.com, where she co-hosts a monthly review of the biggest stories in genomics.

Hercher is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Public Policy Committee, where she led efforts to examine the ethical and social implications of our rapidly improving ability to edit the genome. She was chair of NSGC’s Ethics Advisory Group for four years.

Her first novel, Anybody’s Miracle, was published in 2013.

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Jennifer Hoskovec, MS, CGC

NSGC Prenatal Expert
University of Texas, Houston

Jennifer Hoskovec is a past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. As NSGC’s Prenatal Expert, Hoskovec can explain how she counsels parents-to-be on genetic testing options and helps them understand genetic test results. She also serves as a resource for obstetricians and primary care physicians who recommend genetic testing to their patients.

In addition to her role with NSGC, Hoskovec is Director of Prenatal Genetic Counseling Services at the University of Texas at Houston. She is a member of the Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic team and counsels high-risk women about their options for testing and screening during pregnancy.

Hoskovec shares her passion for genetic counseling with students as an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center, and as a faculty member in the UT Genetic Counseling.

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Amy Sturm

Amy Sturm, MS, CGC, LGC

NSGC Cardiovascular Genetics Expert
Geisinger Health System, Genomic Medicine Institute, Professor and Director of Cardiovascular Genomic Counseling

Amy Sturm is NSGC’s Cardiovascular Expert. She can discuss the wide variety of hereditary forms of heart disease, including cardiomyopathies (defect or damage of the heart muscle), arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders), familial hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol that runs in families), and familial aneurysms (weakening in the artery wall). She has more than 13 years of experience helping patients with a higher risk of genetic heart disease understand their genetic testing results and in talking with family members about their potential risk of disease.

Sturm was co-founder of NSGC’s Cardiovascular Genetics Special Interest Group. In 2008, she co-chaired the NSGC Short Course conference “Taking Heredity to Heart: Cardiovascular Genetics, An Overview.” Sturm has also authored multiple cardiovascular genetics publications. In addition to her expertise in cardiovascular genetics, Sturm is knowledgeable in direct-to-consumer testing and personalized genomic medicine and counseling.

Sturm is a Professor and the Director of Cardiovascular Genomic Counseling at the Geisinger Health System Genomic Medicine Institute. Sturm was also appointed to the ClinGen Cardiovascular Domain Clinical Working Group, which is part of the larger ClinGen initiative funded, in part, by the National Human Genome Research Institute. She also serves as one of two appointed genetic counselor members of the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation’s Medical Education Committee and is on SADS Research Committee and works extensively with the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation.

Sturm attended the University of Michigan and earned her Master of Science degree in human genetics. She is the recipient of the 2012 Diane Baker Alumni Lecture award from the University of Michigan and was the 2011 recipient of NSGC’s leadership award for Outstanding Volunteer.

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Ana Morales, MS, LGC

NSGC Cardiovascular Genetics and Spanish-Language Expert
The Ohio State University

Ana Morales is a genetic counselor who specializes in genetics and heart conditions. She is a nationally recognized expert on cardiomyopathy, a common condition in which the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood is diminished.

As an English and Spanish speaker, Ana has worked to expand access to genetics information in the Spanish-speaking community, and is available for interviews with Spanish and English-language media.

Ana is an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University, where she serves as a clinician for the Cardiovascular Genetics and Genomic Medicine Program, a researcher and member of the Executive Committee of the Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) Consortium, and an educator for the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. She serves on ClinGen’s cardiomyopathy variant and gene curation expert panel.

Her work has appeared in more than 30 peer reviewed publications, including the seminal manuscript that for the first time showed that DCM gene variants can be found in pregnancy- associated cardiomyopathy.

Ana completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Puerto Rico and a Masters in Genetic Counseling at Brandeis University. She is board-certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and a licensed genetic counselor in Ohio. She has also practiced clinical genetic counseling in Puerto Rico and Miami, providing general genetics and prenatal services to primarily Spanish-speaking populations. While in Miami, she was a guest genetics expert for the Spanish-language morning show Despierta América (Univision), discussing general topics such as the role of medical genetics in healthcare and the importance of family history information.

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Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS, LCGC

NSGC Ancestry Expert
Watershed DNA

Brianne Kirkpatrick is NSGC’s Ancestry expert and can discuss the use of genealogy and DNA testing for exploring family connections and genetic health risks. She can also provide insights into limitations and benefits of at-home genetic tests as well as special considerations and motivations for genetic testing by groups, such adoptees and donor conceived persons. She is an expert in issues related to incidental findings, ethical issues and the use of “raw data” from consumer genetic tests.

In addition to her work with NSGC, Kirkpatrick is founder of Watershed DNA, a private practice specializing in ancestry testing and other direct-to-consumer tests. In addition to providing one-on-one consultations and custom projects through Watershed DNA, Brianne participates in a telegenetics network, Genome Medical. She is a member of the NSGC Digital Ambassador Program, which engages in promoting the role and value of genetic counselors via social media. She is active in the world of genetic genealogy both personally and professionally and frequently speaks, writes and blogs on the topic.

Brianne attended Indiana University and earned a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

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Trisha Brown, MS, LCGC

NSGC Policy and Nutrition Expert
BeaconLBS

Trisha Brown is NSGC’s Policy and Nutrition Expert and has more than two decades of experience in clinical genetics, including medical genomics and lab medicine. She can discuss DNA testing for nutrition, the study of pharmacogenetics and policy issues. Brown is also experienced in the commercialization of genomic tests, operations and utilization management.

In addition to her work with NSGC, she is currently the Vice President of Product and Business Development at BeaconLBS. Prior to joining BeaconLBS, she has held executive leadership roles at distinguished corporations such as LabCorp and Medco, and the entrepreneurial successes DNA Direct and Fabric Genomics. Through her work, she seeks to bridge business strategy with clinical care expertise and drive positive outcomes for both healthcare consumers and the businesses that serve them.

Trisha attended the University of California, Davis and earned a master’s degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

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