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JEMF Full Member Award

The purpose of the JEMF is to encourage and fund research initiatives by board-certified genetic counselors who are members in good standing of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and by genetic counseling students enrolled in Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) accredited training programs.

The Full Member award is structured to enable one or more genetic counselors to pursue a research project that:

  1. Develops innovative approaches and/or service delivery models for genetic counseling practice
  2. Improves access to genetic information and services, especially among underserved populations 
  3. Promotes growth and competence in students, genetic counselors, and the genetic counseling profession
  4. Builds a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and/or
  5. Addresses an unmet need of a specific client population or populations

The JEMF Advisory Group (AG) is willing to consider a broad range of proposals, and you are encouraged to contact the AG ( if you have questions about the suitability of your proposed research. Competitive proposals will have the prospect of significant impact on the professional growth of the principal investigator(s) and high relevance to the field of genetic counseling, beyond the personal interests or work setting of the applicant.

2023 Application Information

Application Deadline: May 1, 2023
Apply for the Full Member Award

Click here to download a PDF of the application instructions. Click here to access the budget template. Click here to access the biosketch template.

Full Member Award Application Resources

If you have questions about the application process that are not outlined in these resources, or in the FAQ, please reach out to

Full Member Application FAQs

Where can I access instructions for the JEMF full member award?

Click here to download a PDF of the application instructions.

How do I submit the application?

Applications should be submitted via the online portal, and also by emailing a single PDF to

What types of research is the JEMF looking for?

The JEMF prioritizes research that:

  • develops innovative approaches and/or service delivery models for genetic counseling practice,
  • improves access to genetic information and services, especially among underserved populations,
  • promotes growth and competence in students, genetic counselors, and the genetic counseling profession,
  • builds a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and/or
  • addresses an unmet need of a specific client population or populations

Can I submit a proposal with someone else as a co-PI?

It is permissible, and common among past awardees, to have a co-PI. There are many advantages to having more than one PI. It can provide a complementary skill set, dilute the workload, and enable additional mentorship when one PI is less experienced. All PI’s must be full members of NSGC. (Co-investigators and other roles are not required to be NSGC full members.) If you encounter workplace restrictions, please reach out to the JEMF AG.

Are organizations eligible for the JEMF award, or only individuals?

Only individuals who are NSGC full members in good standing are eligible for the JEMF Full Member Award. There is no restriction on the type of organization the member is employed by. Although it is an individual who is funded, that individual is funded through her/his institution.

Is it possible for me to request a JEMF Advisory Group (AG) member to serve as collaborator or key personnel on the project?

In an effort to significantly decrease the potential for conflicts of interest, JEMF has a policy that current AG members may not serve as collaborators or key personnel on JEMF applications initiated during their tenure on the AG and for one year after their term ends.

What resources are available to help me with my JEMF application?

JEMF offered a webinar titled, Developing a Successful JEMF Application, that was recorded and available to view at (248) Developing a Successful JEMF Application - YouTube The JEMF AG can also help you identify an application advisor – someone who has recently served on the JEMF Advisory Group and/or has held a JEMF award in the past and is familiar with our review criteria and funding priorities. To ensure we can review all applications fairly, as a policy the current JEMF AG does not advise on JEMF projects or applications.

Do I need to have an application advisor and a mentor? What is the difference?

Application advisors, who assist with the application submission, are those who have recently served on the JEMF Advisory Group and/or have held a JEMF award in the past and who are familiar with our review criteria and funding priorities. Project mentors are content experts who provide support to PI(s) on projects during the funding period. All applicants should identify an application advisor to assist with application and a project mentor(s) for the study period. In some cases, the same person may fill both roles. We encourage you to learn more about these roles by accessing our recorded webinar here or slide deck here. The JEMF Advisory Group can help make these connections, or the applicant can identify an Application Advisor. To ensure we can review all applications fairly, as a policy the current JEMF AG does not advise on JEMF projects or applications.

How many full member applications are typically submitted each year?

The number of applications varies from year to year. We typically receive 10 or fewer.

How many years is funding for?

The JEMF award supports projects for two years.

Should the grant application be submitted through our sponsored grant office, development office, or by the individual only?

The award typically goes through sponsored grants offices.

Will the funds be sent to the individual or to the organization that the member is employed by?

The grant funds are awarded through the institution, not directly to the individual.

I only have limited research experience. How will this impact my chances of being chosen?

We encourage early stage investigators to apply. The most important thing is to demonstrate the ability to execute the project. Can you demonstrate enough experience to be successful in what you propose? If not, have you included a mentor, co-PI, co-I, and/or consultant on your project to compensate for any shortcomings in knowledge/experience you have to assist with successful execution?

I have never been awarded a grant before. How will this impact my chances?

Many well published and/or research genetic counselors have never obtained their own grant for a variety of reasons. This in and of itself will not hurt your chances as long as you have demonstrated sufficient experience to execute and/or have included a mentor, co-PI, co-I, or consultant on your project to compensate for any shortcomings in knowledge/experience to execute.

My JEMF proposal was not chosen. How do I determine if I should apply again?

We encourage applicants to reach out to a member of the JEMF AG to discuss this. Many awardees were funded on subsequent attempts. Below are some of the many reasons a project may not have been chosen. In some instances, it is a combination of factors. Many of these can be addressed to increase the strength of a proposal for resubmission. A mentor may be able to help you determine whether to submit again and/or be able to assist you with your grant proposal.

  • The proposal was well written and highly rated, but another high-caliber project was chosen instead – either because it was slightly more well received, addressed a timelier need for the profession, better met the purpose of the award, etc.
  • The grant content itself was insufficient to fully evaluate the project and/or the PI’s ability to execute. Some examples include:
    • PI(s) did not properly follow one or more instructions
    • the research question was not clear
    • the methods weren’t detailed and/or clear enough
    • experience/training of the PI was not described fully enough
    • strategies to compensate for gaps in expertise of the PI were not addressed
    • impact on awardee(s) professional growth was not well articulated and/or compelling
  • The project was too ambitious for the money and/or time available for this award
  • The project itself needs some fine tuning to be successful. Some examples include:
    • the methods chosen may not have been appropriate
    • other methods would be more appropriate
    • the research question was not fully flushed out
  • The investigator does not have sufficient experience in a skill and did not include a mentor/expert in the application.
  • The project may not have reflected the purpose of this particular award.

How many times can I resubmit an application?

You may resubmit two times after the original submission.

Full Member Award FAQs

When will I be notified of the award decision?

The JEMF Advisory Group (AG) typically makes an award decision in the summer during their annual meeting. Applicants are informed of the results after this meeting, but prior to the NSGC Conference. The date varies each year depending on the date of the AG meeting.

What is required of me if I receive a JEMF Full Member Award?

Awardees must submit quarterly progress reports, present findings at the NSGC conference, acknowledge JEMF in all presentations and publications, and return unused funds to JEMF.

How do I acknowledge JEMF in my publications and presentations?

Awardees should acknowledge JEMF as follows: "This work has been supported by the Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship, the 20** grant from the Engelberg Foundation to the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc."

How are conflicts of interests between JEMF applicants and Advisory Group (AG) members managed? Does this limit the ability to apply?

A conflict of interest (COI) with an AG member does not prohibit a candidate from applying. AG members with a COI are not permitted to contribute to the decision process regarding that award. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to AG members who:

  • work at the same institution as the applicant,
  • have a financial relationship with the applicant (e.g. contract with),
  • collaborated on a research project or paper completed in the past four years,
  • worked in a supervisory capacity with the applicant in the past four years, and
  • has other personal relationship that the AG member feels raises a conflict of interest.

How do I return my remaining funds left over at the completion of my project to JEMF?

Make check payable to “The National Society of Genetic Counselors,” and send to 8359 Solutions Center, Chicago, IL 60677 with a note in the memo to indicate return of JEMF funds.

2024 JEMF Awardee

Emily Brown, MGC, CGC for her project "Increasing Access to Genetic Counselors in the Inpatient Setting Through a Novel Service Delivery Method" 

Genetic counseling shortages are often acutely felt on the inpatient side. This is an implementation study to assess the use of a pre-test genetic counseling video in the inpatient cardiovascular space to evaluate if this may be an appropriate novel service delivery method to help address this unmet need. The study outcomes selected include both systems outcomes which assess patient volume and time to results appointments and outcomes to assess patient and provider experiences.

Previous JEMF Full Member Awardees

Awards are listed by the year in which they were initially funded. Proposals are submitted in May and reviewed during the summer, with the winner announced at the NSGC Annual Conference in the fall. The official award start date is January 1st of the following year.


Lisa Schwartz, EdD, MS, CGC for her project “An Exploration of Genetic Counselors’ Professional Identity"


Sara Pirzadeh-Miller, MS, CGC for her project “Genetic Counseling Service Delivery and Outcomes in Diverse and Underserved Populations”


Chenery Lowe, ScM, CGC for her project "A Remote, Web-Based Approach to Assessing and Developing Genetic Counseling Students' Patient-Centered Communication Skills"


 Katherine Helbig, MS, LCGC for her project “Assessing the effect of a genetic diagnosis and genetic counseling on health outcomes and healthcare utilization in children with epilepsy” 


MaryAnn Campion, MS, EdD, LCGC and Colleen Caleshu, MS, CGC for their project "Me-GC: A randomized controlled trial of meditation to improve genetic counselor and genetic counseling student professional well-being"


Heather Zierhut, PhD, MS, GCC for her project "Reducing the risk of heart disease through increased utilization
of cascade cholesterol screening". 


Brittney Murray, MS, CGC for her project "Outcomes of Genetic Counseling for Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy: A comparison of face-to-face and tele-genetic counseling". 


Julia Wynn, MS, CGC for her project entitled "Examining the Effects of Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) and Utility of Educational Videos to Augment WES Patient Education".


Cynthia A. James, ScM, PhD, CGC for her project entitled "How does family history influence psychosocial adaptation in individuals with inherited cardiomyopathies and their at-risk family members?" 


Flavia Malheiro Facio, MS, CGC  for her project entitled "Genomic sequencing in a population of healthy infants: Exploring parental motivations, expectations and utilization of sequencing results" 


Katie Sheets, MS, CGC and Blythe Crissman, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Understanding the Experience and Needs of Individuals Receiving a Prenatal Diagnosis of Down Syndrome"


Sara M. Fitzgerald-Butt, MS, CGC for her project entitled "Assessment of the Genetic Knowledge of Adolescents and Young Adults with Congenital Heart Defects and their Parents"


Dawn Allain, MS, CGC, and Kate Shane, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "The Value of Genetic Counselors in Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast-Ovarian Cancer"


Catherine (Casey) Reiser, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Development of Educational Resources for Genetic Counseling Students, Practicing Genetic Counselors and Students in Other Health Professionals Using Digital Recordings of Genetic Counseling Sessions by Master Genetic Counselors"


Nancy Steinberg Warren, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Enhancing Cultural and Linguistic Competence in the Genetic Counseling Profession" 


Kathryn Peters, MS , CGC, for their project entitled "What the Client Brings to the Session: The Development of an Instrument to Assess Genetic Counseling Client Background, Needs and Expectations"


Robin Grubs, PhD, CGC, for their project entitled "Toward a Grounded Theory of Professional Practice for Genetic Counselors" 

2006 Special Award

Debra Collins, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Grantsmanship for Genetic Counselors: An Online Course"


Caroline Lieber, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Privileging Family Stories in Genetic Understanding: An Updated Paradigm for Genetic Counselors"


Janice Edwards, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Genetic Counseling Education: Connecting the Global Community"


Katy (Catherine) Downs, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Promoting Communication and Trust in Multicultural Genetic Counseling: Working with Interpreters"


Susan Estabrooks*, Elizabeth Melvin*, and Emily Burkett**
* Duke University, **Oregon Health & Science University

The team will explore the roles, skills, and training of the research genetic counselor. The published findings of Estabrooks, Melvin, and Hanson will provide recommendations for future training of research genetic counselors.


Christina Palmer, PhD and Don Hadley

Dr. Palmer and Mr. Hadley established validity of specific models for evaluating how people perceive and evaluate risks and, focused on genetic tests, showed that risk judgments differ more by ethnicity/race than by worldview or gender.


Monica Barth, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "From Novice to Expert: Supervising the Development of Genetic Counselors"


Bonnie S. LeRoy, MS, CGC, for their project entitled "Development of a Genetic Counseling Helping Skills Training Skills Manual"


Rebecca Rae Anderson, MS, JD, CGC, for their project entitled "Religious Traditions and Prenatal Genetic Counseling: A Survey"


Judith Benkendorf, Michelle Prince and Heidi Hamilton, PhD, for their project entitled "Genetic Counseling as Discourse: A Sociolinguistic Approach"


Allyn McConkie-Rosell, MSW, for their project entitled "Carrier Testing in Women Who are At-Risk for Fragile X Syndrome"


An interactive workshop focused on grant writing skills and the transference of creative ideas into fundable projects

Twenty-two members attended the workshop held in February in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Brenda Finucane, MS, for their project entitled "Genetic Counseling of Women with Mental Retardation: A Search for Strategies to Enhance Understanding and Reproductive Decision Making"


Deborah L. Eunpu, MS

Funded sabbatical to study the role of psycho-dynamic, couple and family therapy theories and techniques as they apply in the context of genetic counseling. The project had as its primary product the development of a format for presentation and analysis of genetic counseling case material which draws on the literature and experiences of other therapeutic systems.


Katherine Schneider, MPH, for their project entitled "Counseling about Cancer: Strategies for Genetic Counselors (Book)"