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Ethics Consult Request Form

The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) is pleased to offer its members the opportunity to request an ethics consult through its Ethics Inquiry Review Program (Program).  Under the Program, members in good standing have the opportunity to request input from their peers on ethical questions arising under the NSGC Code of Ethics (Code) and encountered in their practice.

NSGC assumes no liability for any injury and/or damage to reputation, persons or property arising out of or related to participation in the Program or the implementation or reliance on any information included in a Response.  

Ethics Inquiry Review Request Form

Program Description

NSGC Board of Directors appoints seven NSGC members and one non-member bioethicist advisor to serve on the NSGC Ethics Advisory Group (Group) each year.  The Group’s purpose is to serve as an educational resource to the Board and membership on matters involving ethical concerns arising under the Code.  Generally, the Group: (i) reviews, updates, and applies the Code both to individual NSGC members in their practice as well as to NSGC in its management functions and interactions with members and the general public; and (ii) works to develop, maintain, and publish educational information regarding the range of ethical confronting genetic counselors.

As part of its function, the Group is available to respond to eligible inquires submitted through the Program.  NSGC members in good standing that agree to abide by the terms of the Program, may submit a written ethics inquiry to NSGC seeking the Group’s insight into the interpretation and application of the Code to an ethical situation faced by the member.  Inquiries must be based on an accurate and complete set of facts actually encountered by the member in the course of his or her practice.  Inquiries must strictly adhere to HIPAA requirements and may not include any personally identifiable information (medical or otherwise) about a patient, patient’s relatives or friends, or other individuals or organizations and must not identify the member’s employer. Only inquiries seeking input with respect to the applicability of a specific section of the Code will be considered.   Inquiries that do not meet the Program’s requirements will not be reviewed.

NSGC will review inquiries submitted through the Program and, if appropriate, refer them to the Group. A subcommittee of the Group will review each eligible inquiry and prepare a written response that applies the ethical requirements set forth in the Code to the facts described in the inquiry (Response).  Inquiries will be reviewed and a response provided within three (3) weeks of the date of the request. 

Responses will not include specific advice or directives but are meant to provide NSGC members with information they can use in connection with developing a plan to handle the ethical issue in question.  NSGC reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to (i) reject an inquiry for any reason; or (ii) decide not to issue a Response to an inquiry.

NSGC (through the Group) offers such Response as an educational tool and service to NSGC’s members. Neither NSGC nor the Group dispenses practice, legal, medical, employment or any other type of advice or opinion and members participating in the Program may not rely on any Response received.  Additionally, variations in practice, which take into account the needs of individual patients, genetic counselors, institutions and the resources and limitations unique to the health care setting, may warrant approaches that differ from the information provided in the Response.  Therefore, information contained in a Response should not be interpreted as an exclusive interpretation of the Code nor the exclusive appropriate course of action.  Reliance on any information included in the Response does not guarantee a particular outcome.

Ethics Advisory Group Members - 2021

Amy Mueller.jpg

Amy Mueller,
MPH, MS, LCGC (Chair)

Years of GC Experience:
5 years

GC Specialty:
Oncology

Ethics Experience:
MPH in Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights, Member of MGH Pediatric Ethics Committee

Current Employer:
MGH Center for Cancer Risk Assessment

EAG Term:
January 2018 through December 2021

William Campbell.jpg

William Campbell,
MA, MS, CGC

Years of GC Experience:
7 years

GC Specialty:
Pediatrics, Cancer, Cardiovascular. Prior clinical experience in prenatal.

Ethics Experience:
Guest lecturer on Bioethics at Connecticut College and Brown University. MA in Philosophy, UC Berkeley. Previously served on hospital Ethics Committee.

Current Employer:
Rhode Island Hospital

EAG Term:
January 2019 through December 2022

Emily Higgs.jpg

Emily Higgs, MS
(certified by the Human Genetics Society of Australasia)

Years of GC Experience:
6 years

GC Specialty:
Research genomics. Prior clinical specialty: Adult cancer and Neurogenetics

Ethics Experience:
Graduate Diploma in Bioethics (2011), Consultant to Stanford University IRB

Current Employer:
Stanford University

EAG Term:
January 2020 through December 2023

Caitlin Mauer.jpg

Caitlin Mauer,
MA, MS, CGC

Years of GC Experience:
8 years

GC Specialty:
Adult and Pediatric Cancer Genetics

Ethics Experience:
Masters of Arts in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Northwestern 2016

Current Employer:
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

EAG Term:
January 2018 through December 2021

Rebecca McClellan.jpg

Rebecca McClellan,
MGC, CGG

Years of GC Experience:
17 years

GC Specialty:
Cardiovascular, Pediatrics, Metabolism/mitochondrial, Rare disease

Ethics Experience:
Hospital Ethics Committee

Current Employer:
Johns Hopkins & Kennedy Krieger Institute

EAG Term:
January 2017 through December 2020

Lauren Murphy.jpg

Lauren Murphy,
MS, CGG

Years of GC Experience:
10.5 years

GC Specialty:
Prenatal and Psychiatric

Ethics Experience:
Member of the Texas Fetal Center Ethics Board, Co-facilitator for the UTGCP Bioethics course (semester-long, case-based course)

Current Employer:
UT-Houston McGovern Medical School, Department of OBGYN

EAG Term:
January 2019 through December 2022

Beth Peshkin.jpg

Beth N. Peshkin,
MS, CGG

Years of GC Experience:
27 years

GC Specialty:
Oncology, Pharmacogenomics

Ethics Experience:
Certificate of Advanced Study in Bioethics and Health Policy; Associate Faculty, Georgetown Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics; Director of courses in genomics and disability, ethics, and policy; Formerly small group preceptor for ethics course at Georgetown’s School of Medicine

Current Employer:
Georgetown University; Washington, DC

EAG Term:
April 2020 through December 2023

Ethics Inquiries: Additional Resources

American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB)
bioethics.net

AJOB editors' blog
blog.bioethics.net

The President's Council on Bioethics
Bioethics.gov

NIH Bioethics Resources on the Web
www.nih.gov/sigs/bioethics

NHGRI Online Bioethics Resources
genome.gov/10001744

Hastings Center
www.thehastingscenter.org

Kennedy Institute of Ethics
kennedyinstitute.georgetown.edu

University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics
www.bioethics.umn.edu

University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics
bioethics.upenn.edu

Kennedy Institute of Ethics/NRCBL Library and Information Services

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