As I write this, it’s late on Friday afternoon before the long Memorial Day weekend. I’m reflecting on the two days I just spent in Bethesda, Maryland, co-chairing a workshop on polygenic risk scores at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. During this workshop, I was surrounded by giants in genetic epidemiology, applied psychology and other fields. I took every opportunity I could to insert the voice of the genetic counselor. This experience made me think about the many ways NSGC continues to focus on the unique voice – and value – of the genetic counselor, and how best to ensure we continue to lead the integration of genomics for all.
When the NSGC Board of Directors held our May Board meeting, we reviewed the work of both the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Task Force and the NSGCares Task Force. The D&I Task Force has been developing a NSGC Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Statement. This statement will be a way to use our voice, followed by our actions, to address these critical issues. The NSGCares Task Force has been working on their Vision Statement. This statement will use the voice of the genetic counselor to display our inward and outward caring, empathy, support and connection with our members and the individuals and groups we serve.
In addition, earlier this month, NSGC Cancer SIG Co-Chair Megan Frone, NSGC Executive Director Meghan Carey and I met with the leadership of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. We inserted the voice of the genetic counselor to continue to shape how high-value, collaborative genetics services should be delivered. Relatedly, the Pathways to Genetic Counselors Task Force recently kicked off and is working their way through a review of existing literature and research to help inform the development of questions individuals can answer on their potential path to a genetic counselor. The Pathways Task Force will be meeting every two weeks for the next two months to continue to forge ahead on their charges.
NSGC also responds to the genetic counselor voice! We heard your very valid concerns regarding practices related to potential victimization of the elderly and vulnerable populations/Medicare fraud through purported hereditary cancer screening programs. We worked quickly to inform our membership about how you can insert your voices in these situations. In addition, to equip you all with the information you need, NSGC is hosting a webinar on June 10, 2019, titled “Medicare Fraud, Waste and Abuse as it Relates to Your Practice” with Amber McGraw Walsh, Partner, McGuire Woods LLP and Jake A. Cilek, Associate, McGuire Woods LLP.
As I stressed during my incoming presidential address, you all have a unique voice. You all have something to say. So, go for it: Confidence ignite!
Until next month,
Amy Curry Sturm
2019 NSGC President
This article was published in the May 2019 Advocate Newsletter.