NSGC has member spokespersons available to participate in interviews with local, regional and national media. Please see below for full listing of our Expert Media Panel and their areas of focus.
Contact Information For Media Inquiries or Interview Requests with NSGC Spokespersons
Public Communications Inc.
Expert Media Panel Listing
Heather Zierhut, Ph.D., MS, CGC (she/her)
NSGC President and Public Health and Primary Care Expert
University of Minnesota
Dr. Heather Zierhut is the president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Board of Directors. As NSGC’s Public Health and Primary Care Expert, Zierhut can discuss the psychosocial and public health implications involved with providing genetic counseling services. She can also discuss integrating genetics into primary care, access to genetic counseling in diverse communities and healthcare disparities related to genetics. As the head of the University of Minnesota’s Genetic Counseling Graduate program, she can speak to genetic counseling as a profession and the importance of genetics education and research. Heather has a rich history of working in higher education, clinical care and the healthcare industry.
Outside of her work with NSGC, Zierhut is a professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota.
Heather received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. She then went on to her earn her master’s degree in genetic counseling from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and doctorate in philosophy - focused in molecular, cellular, developmental biology and genetics - with an epidemiology minor.
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Deepti Babu, MS, CGC (she/her)
NSGC President-Elect and Patient Communications Expert
Integrity Content Consulting
Deepti Babu is president-elect of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. She chaired NSGC’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee. She previously hosted NSGC’s Genetic Counselors and You podcast.
As an accomplished writer, editor and genetic counselor, Babu has deep expertise in medical communications. With more than 20 years of experience in the clinic, she makes meaning of complex scientific topics for patients and consumers. She can readily address topics related to engaging audiences about genetics, genetic counseling, and rare disease.
Babu is the founder of Integrity Content Consulting, a medical content firm. Her previous work encompasses both clinical and communications roles, including: ThinkGenetic, Ambry Genetics, Alberta Health Services, Marshfield Clinic, Venture Publishing and Gale. She is also an avid foodie, and created a syndicated food column as one of her earliest writing credits.
Babu attended the University of Washington and received her master’s degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a board-certified genetic counselor. She is based in Alberta, Canada.
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Matt Bower, MS
NSGC Adult Neurology Expert
University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
As NSGC’s Adult Neurology Expert, Matt Bower can discuss the genetics of neurologic diseases including Ataxia, Huntington disease, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease. Mr. Bower can also speak to how he helps patients with inherited neurologic diseases navigate genetic testing from reviewing family history to interpreting results.
Additionally, Mr. Bower works in a clinical molecular diagnostics laboratory helping to uncover the underlying mechanisms of specific health conditions and diseases. He is working to apply new genetic testing technologies to the complex field of neurogenetics and other inherited diseases.
Mr. Bower attended Notre Dame University for his undergraduate degree and earned a master’s degree in genetic counseling from the University of Minnesota.
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Sara Riordan, MS, CGC (she/her)
Precision Medicine and Consumer Genomics Expert
Unified Patient Network
Sara Riordan is the 2021 past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Board of Directors. As NSGC’s Precision Medicine and Consumer Genomics Expert, Riordan can discuss how an individual’s genetics can be used to tailor treatments for cancer and other health conditions. She can also discuss the wide spectrum of at-home genetic tests that are available either direct to the consumer or ordered with the involvement of a healthcare provider. Riordan’s 18-year genetic counseling career has spanned both academia and industry in the specialties of precision medicine, oncology, consumer genomics, and molecular diagnostics.
In addition to her position with NSGC, Riordan is the Vice President of Clinical and Research Programs at the Unified Patient Network, a precision health ecosystem that facilitates clinical and research collaboration between health systems, patients and biopharma. Riordan has held previous roles at leading biotechnology and precision oncology diagnostics firms such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Life Technologies, and Oncocyte. As a consultant and entrepreneur, Riordan has worked with many early-stage companies in developing and commercializing genomic tests and applications.
Riordan attended the University of California San Diego and received her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Arizona. She also received a master’s degree in Human Genetics research from the University of California Los Angeles. Riordan is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and is based in Sacramento, California.
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Gillian Hooker, PhD, ScM, LCGC (she/her)
NSGC Clinical Genetic Testing and Reimbursement Expert
Gillian Hooker is the 2020 past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Board of Directors. As NSGC’s clinical genetic testing and reimbursement expert, she can discuss the landscape of genetic tests available to be ordered in the clinic, trends and policies impacting that landscape, including insurance coverage, and tools to support the appropriate use of genetic tests.
In addition to her work with NSGC, Hooker is the Chief Scientific Officer at Concert Genetics. She provides clinical leadership and coordinates a number of internal and external collaborations to use test data, insurance claims and genetic testing market data to help with policy development for hospitals, health plans, and federal policymakers. Previously, Hooker served as the associate director of the NIH/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program and conducted research at the National Human Genome Research Institute as part of the ClinSeq team, studying the first health populations to undergo whole-exome sequencing.
She also holds an adjunct Associate Professor position at Vanderbilt University, leading the research arm of the Vanderbilt Genetic Counseling Training Program.
Hooker received her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the Johns Hopkins/NIH Genetic Counseling Training Program and completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics at Yale University. She completed her post-doctoral research in Cancer Prevention & Control at Georgetown University studying BRCA 1/2 testing and service delivery in a randomized controlled trial of telephone genetic counseling with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
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Susan Hahn, MS, CGC (she/her)
NSGC Alzheimer’s Expert/NSGC Ethics Expert
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. She can also discuss payer engagement and education related to genetic policy.
She serves as Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Quest Diagnostics.
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Jamie C. Fong, MS, CGC (she/her)
NSGC Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dimentia (ADRD) Expert
Baylor College of Medicine
Jamie C. Fong is NSGC's Expert on Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (ADRD). She is available to discuss the appropriate use of genetic testing for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and related conditions.
Fong is highly knowledgeable about best clinical and research practices surrounding the provision of genetic counseling and testing to people with an ADRD diagnosis and to their asymptomatic at-risk relatives. She has expertise on the ethics of return of genetic results in clinical ADRD research, both in the setting of observational and interventional studies, as well as approaches to communication of ADRD genetic information to various audiences including patients and researchers. She is also an expert on direct-to-consumer health trait genetic testing for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
In addition to her role as an NSGC Expert, Fong is a genetic counselor/assistant professor and per diem genetic counselor at two academic medical centers. In both clinical and research settings, she provides genetic counseling to people with or at risk for neurodegenerative disease. She moderates a telephone support group for adult children of individuals with neurodegenerative disease. Fong also conducts research about perspectives of precision medicine for ADRD and about alternative service delivery models of genetic counseling for Parkinson's disease.
She is a member of the ClinGen Parkinson's Disease Gene Curation Expert Panel. Fong received her Master's degree in Genetic Counseling from Sarah Lawrence College. She received her Bachelor's degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California-Berkeley. Fong is a diplomate of the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
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Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS, LCGC (she/her)
NSGC Ancestry Expert
Brianne Kirkpatrick is a licensed and certified genetic counselor, consultant, author, and Ancestry Expert for the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Through her private practice, Watershed DNA, public-facing blog, and podcast DNA Clarity and Support, Kirkpatrick offers professional guidance in the quickly-growing area of unexpect4ed genealogy discoveries from consumer DNA testing. She has written and co-authored multiple books and publications, including 'The DNA Guide for Adoptees' and 'Could the DNA Test Be Wrong?' and focuses on identifying support and resources for adoptees, donor-conceived persons, misattributed percentage or NPE ("not parents expected"), and people with other unexpected DNA relative discoveries.
With both clinical and research background prior to specializing in DTC genetics, Kirkpatrick has been involved in a diverse range of writing, research, and volunteer activities with NSGC throughout her career.
Brianna is a 2005 graduate of Northwestern University's graduate program in Genetic counseling and is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
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Joy Larsen Haidle, MS, LGC (she/her)
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.
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, 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.
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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Amy Sturm, MS, CGC, LGC (she/her)
NSGC Cardiovascular Genetics Expert
Amy Sturm is the 2019 past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors' Board of Directors. As NSGC’s Cardiovascular Expert, she can discuss the wide variety of hereditary forms of heart disease. She has more than 20 years of experience working in the field of cardiovascular genetics, including in patient-facing contexts. Sturm has also authored multiple cardiovascular genetics publications. She serves as a member of the Scientific Board for the Family Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association Genomic and Precision Medicine Leadership Committee.
In addition to her expertise in cardiovascular genetics, Sturm is knowledgeable in population genomic screening and digital health tools such as chatbots and clinical decision support. Sturm has served as the Chair to the Advisory Board for the All of Us Genetic Counseling Resource.
Sturm serves as Director of Population Health Genomics at 23andMe. Sturm was a professor and the Director of Cardiovascular Genomic Counseling at the Geisinger Health System Genomic Medicine Institute.
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 (she/her)
NSGC Cardiovascular Genetics and Spanish-Language Expert
Ana Morales is the 2019 President of the American Board of Genetic Counseling. 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, Morales has worked to expand access to genetic information in the Spanish-speaking community and is available for interviews with Spanish and English-language media.
Morales manages the cardiology, neurology, and pediatrics research program for Medical Affairs at Invitae.
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.
Morales 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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Laura Hercher, CGC (she/her)
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.
Laura is the host of the podcast, "The Beagle Has Landed".
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Kenny Wong, MS, CGC (he/him)
NSGC Genetic Technology Expert
Kenny Wong is the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Genetic Technology Expert and can discuss the intersection of genetics and technology, and how advancements such as artificial intelligence and precision medicine contribute to positive patient and provider outcomes. He previously was the host of NSGC’s Genetic Counselors and You podcast.
Wong serves as Chief Product Officer at xCures, where he helps develop innovative products for cancer treatment. Wong is an experienced leader in genetics and product management, previously working at Genzyme Genetics, UCSF Medical Center, Counsyl and GenomeSmart.
Wong attended the University of British Columbia and received his master’s degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. He is a board-certified genetic counselor.
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Erica Ramos, MS, CGC (she/her)
NSGC Personalized Medicine Expert
Genome Medical, Inc.
Erica Ramos is the 2018 past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Board of Directors. As NSGC’s Personalized Medicine Expert, Ramos can discuss next-generation DNA sequencing technologies such as whole genome and exome sequencing, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, "healthy screening", DNA-based population health programs, telemedicine and health equity. 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.
Ramos currently serves as Vice President of Population Genomics at Genome Medical. She previously worked at Geisinger National Precision Health and Illumina. She is also an adjunct professor in the genetic counseling department at Augustana University.
Ramos attended Southeast Missouri State University and earned a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of California-Irvine. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
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Trisha Brown, MS, LCGC (she/her)
NSGC Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial Payer Coverage Policies Expert
Trisha Brown is NSGC's expert on Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial Payer Coverage Policies and has more than two decades of experience in clinical genetics, including medical genomics and lab medicine. She can discuss precision medicine related coverage policy issues. Brown is also experienced in precision medicine, nutrigenomics, commercialization of genomic tests, operations and utilization management.
In addition to her work with NSGC, she is currently the Genomics and Precision Medicine Program Director for Aetna/CVS Health. Prior to joining Aetna/CVS Health, she has held executive leadership roles at distinguished corporations such as Illumina, LabCorp and Medco, and the entrepreneurial successes DNA Direct, Fabric Genomics, and BeaconLBS. 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.
Brown 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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Blair Stevens, MS, CGC (she/her)
NSGC Prenatal Expert
University of Texas Health Science Center
As the National Society of Genetic Counselors Prenatal Expert, Blair Stevens can discuss counseling patients and their families about their reproductive risks, testing options and test results. She has expertise in the rapidly advancing field of prenatal testing, from prenatal chromosome microarray to cell-free DNA screening. Stevens also has a passion for helping families who carry a pregnancy diagnosed with a genetic condition or developmental difference.
As a member of a multi-disciplinary Fetal Center, she helps families understand diagnoses such as spina bifida, congenital diaphragmatic hernia and cleft lip and palate and their possible genetic associations.
In addition to seeing patients, Stevens is an Assistant Professor and Director of Prenatal Genetic Counseling Services at the McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center. Stevens has many publications regarding prenatal genetic counseling and testing and serves as a research mentor, clinical supervisor and instructor for the University of Texas Genetic Counseling Program.
Her past roles with the National Society of Genetic Counselors have included director-at-large on the Board of Directors, chair of the Prenatal Special Interest Group and chair of the Public Policy Committee.
Stevens attended the University of Kansas and earned her master's degree from the University of Texas Genetic Counseling Program. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
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Jehannine Austin, Ph.D., MSc, CGC, CCGC (they/them)
NSGC Psychiatric Disorders Expert
University of British Columbia
Jehannine Austin is a 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. They 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 their 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 a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics. They hold 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 their undergraduate degree at Bath University and a PhD in Neuropsychiatric Genetics at the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff in the U.K., before earning a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. They are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the Canadian Association of Genetic Counselors.
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Jason Flanagan, MS, CGC (he/him)
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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