$1.5 Million Gift from The Engelberg Foundation Ensures Ongoing Genetic Counselor Research Funding
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sept. 14, 2017 – On the 25th anniversary of the Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship (JEMF), The Engelberg Foundation has given the Genetic Counseling Foundation (GCF), the charitable affiliate of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), a $1.5 million gift to permanently endow the award and ensure the ongoing support of genetic counseling research.
“Since it was established in 1991, the JEMF has provided more than 30 genetic counselors the ability to pursue research and projects that have contributed to significant advancement of the genetic counseling profession,” said Mary Freivogel, MS, CGC, president of NSGC. “We are eternally grateful to Alfred Engelberg for creating the fellowship in honor of his late wife, a passionate pioneer of genetic counseling.”
The JEMF was established as a tribute to Jane Engelberg, who graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1973 with a master’s degree in human genetics. During her 15-year career as a genetic counselor in New York City, Jane developed expertise in counseling patients on issues related to hemophilia and prenatal diagnosis. She worked tirelessly until her death in 1988, despite being under treatment for advanced Hodgkin’s disease beginning in 1969.
Previously funded yearly through the Engelberg Foundation, the JEMF now has an established mechanism for permanent funding under GCF because of the $1.5 million gift.
“Jane’s work gave her the motivation to embrace life each day while living with the physical and emotional consequences of a terminal illness” said Alfred Engelberg, the founder of The Engelberg Foundation. “She would be so proud to have her name permanently linked to the highest levels of achievement in the profession she loved.”
The purpose of the JEMF is to encourage and fund initiatives by board-certified genetic counselors who are members in good standing of the NSGC and by genetic counseling students enrolled in accredited genetic counseling training programs. The yearly award is intended to enable one or more genetic counselors to pursue research, writing or exploration of new interests that carry the prospect of significant impact on the genetic counseling profession.
Each year an award of $70,000 is provided for a two-year project. To date, more than two dozen projects have been awarded to more than 30 genetic counselors or students on a variety of topics including: increasing access to genetic counseling through telemedicine; exploring the use of patient videos to explain Whole Exome Sequencing (WES); understanding the needs of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome; and outcomes of patients being counseled about BRCA mutations by genetic counselors compared to non-genetics healthcare providers.
About the National Society of Genetic Counselors
NSGC is the leading voice, authority and advocate for the genetic counseling profession, representing more than 3,600 health care professionals. The organization is committed to ensuring that the public has access to genetic services. For more information, visit www.nsgc.org.
About the Genetic Counseling Foundation
GCF serves as the catalyst for the integration of genomic information and genetic counseling services into healthcare through philanthropic support of education, research, and public policy. A 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization, GCF works closely with NSGC to be the leading voice, authority and advocate for the genetic counseling profession.