policy & Publications

PROMOTING CULTURAL COMPETENCY WITHIN NSGC

As the leading voice, authority and advocate for the genetic counseling profession, the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) is composed of numerous networks of committees, task forces, SIGs and individual members. Through the continuous efforts of these dedicated professionals, NSGC is able to grow and improve as an organization with each passing year.  This page is designed to promote the ways in which NSGC works to encourage cultural competency within the organization and genetic counseling profession alike.

Listed below are a few of the ways in which NSGC is working to stimulate cultural competence within genetic counseling:

Cultural Competency Sub-committee

Several years ago, the NSGC recognized that the lack of diversity in the profession needed to be addressed not only to improve the profession but, also to provide better care to clients and families. In 2008, Former President Angela Trepanier, commissioned a Diversity Task Force to further investigate ways in which the NSGC could address some of these issues. The Diversity Task Force drafted a document of recommendations that could potentially address some of the challenges in diversity and cultural competency in the organization.  Later, the Task Force was transitioned into the Cultural Competence sub-committee as part of the NSGC Membership Committee, which has been working to incorporate the recommendations proposed by the Diversity Task Force. 

The Cultural Competency sub-committee mission and vision statements to improve diversity and cultural competency are listed below:

Mission

To cultivate a more diverse and culturally competent National Society of Genetic Counselors by:

  • Fostering a more welcoming, respectful, and inclusive environment for all;
  • Recognizing and decreasing health care disparities in genetic counseling services;
  • Providing educational opportunities in cross-cultural competence for the organization’s leaders and members.

Vision 

  • To develop and facilitate educational opportunities in cross-cultural competence and health disparities for NSGC members and leaders. 
  • Engage in outreach activities that support the mission.
  • Define and use performance measures to evaluate progress towards goals outlined in the National Society of Genetic Counselors Organizational Cultural Competency Task Force Recommendations. 

The Diversity and Cultural Competency sub-committee has sponsored many activities to help accomplish the goals of the Diversity Task Force. Some of those activities have been sponsoring educational sessions about the genetic counseling profession at Historically Black Colleges/Universities, educating the NSGC membership about cultural competence through Short courses/Plenary sessions at the NSGC Annual Education Conference, writing articles in the Perspectives newsletter about cultural competence and incorporating it into more NSGC activities and genetic counselors’ everyday practices. 

NSGC Student Annual Conference Scholarship

In an effort to increase cultural competency of the membership of the NSGC, the Membership Committee is providing two $500 scholarships to second-year genetic counseling students planning to attend the 2017 NSGC Annual Conference meeting in Columbus, Ohio. All applicants must be enrolled and in good standing at an accredited genetic counseling training program in the fall of 2017, and be members of the NSGC or planning to join in 2018. Any second-year genetic counseling student interested in cultural competency issues may apply for this scholarship.

Applications will open on May 15 and close June 16, 2017. No applications submitted after this date will be accepted.

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Decisions will be made July 7. After verifying enrollment, the applicants will be notified. The official presentation of the awards will be made at the NSGC Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Applications are due on Friday, June 16, 2017, before midnight EDT. Please answer all three questions in 500 words or less.  No applications submitted after this date will be accepted. 

PROGRAM DIRECTORS must complete the Student Enrollment Verification form. A winner will be chosen by July 7 and the recipients will be notified after verification of enrollment has been established. 

If you have any questions, please contact Eunice Hahn at the NSGC Executive Office at ehahn@nsgc.org. You may also contact the leader of the scholarship working group of the Membership Committee: Katie Bergstrom  via e-mail at klbergst@txch.org.

2016 Recipients:

  • Mike Suguitan
  • Rebecca Wang

NSGC Leadership Awards

The annual NSGC Leadership Awards acknowledge the actions and behaviors of exemplary genetic counselors, as well as recognizing volunteers for their contributions. The NSGC Awards Workgroup presents no fewer than 6 awards annually to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of our members. Leadership Awards are presented at the NSGC Annual Education Conference (AEC). In 2013, NSGC added the following award category to the NSGC Leadership Awards Program:

Cultural CompetencyCriteria

This award recognizes one outstanding NSGC member in good standing who has demonstrated leadership and/or exemplary achievements in cultural competency in genetic counseling. Candidates will be considered based on one or more of the following broad criteria:

  • Significant contributions to improving cultural competence in any genetic counseling practice/specialty area(s), research, industry, and/or training.
  • Achievements may include, but are not limited to: increasing minority recruitment in the field genetic counseling, working with culturally diverse populations, providing multi-lingual genetic counseling services, coordinating/conducting research with underserved populations, developing/disseminating health literacy resources, making significant educational contributions to increase cultural awareness in the profession, and/or other activities.
  • Significant contributions in addressing/eliminating health care disparities in genetics/genomics/genetic counseling.

2013 Recipient:

  • Nancy Steinberg Warren, MS, CGC

      Genetic Counseling Cultural Competence Toolkit

      Interested in learning more about cultural competency? Consider signing up for the Genetic Counseling Cultural Competence Toolkit online course: http://www.geneticcounselingtoolkit.com 

      Originally funded by the 2009 JEMF award, the Genetic Counseling Cultural Competence Toolkit was developed by Nancy Steinberg Warren, MS CGC as a resource for the genetic counseling profession. It is the "go to" place for genetic counselors, students, and training program faculty and supervisors to retrieve information, tips and links to cases and resources on cultural competence, health literacy, working with interpreters, cultural and spiritual assessment, health disparities and many other topics. The site is open and free to everyone. Registration fees for Category 1 CEUs for the 14.4 hour Genetic Counseling Cultural Competence Toolkit Cases cover the ongoing costs of maintaining the website. Suggestions and additions to the site, such as counseling tips, model programs, and relevant links, should be sent to geneticcounselingtoolkit@gmail.com.

      Relative articles in Perspectives and the Journal of Genetic Counseling 

      The following articles published in NSCG's Perspectives highlight cultural competency within genetic counseling:

        

       

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