December 2020 President’s Letter: Evolution of Thought

We started 2020 in the second year of an ambitious strategic plan. I felt excited and curious as we embarked on the journey, eager to see what we could get done as we were:

  • Fighting for recognition under CMS
  • Building business cases and triage tools
  • Advocating for new state licensure laws
  • Reaching out to private payers
  • Calling for funding for genetic counseling research
  • Leading the development of quality metrics for genetic counselors,
  • Engaging contractors to guide a strategy to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within our profession and for the people we serve

In March, we all blinked our eyes as news of the COVID-19 pandemic became more and more real, and the reality set in that this year would not proceed as planned. Week by week, we said good-bye to our original plans, replacing them with new ones. As the pandemic worsened, the massive health disparities existing in our society became harder and harder to ignore. Complacency became a far less comfortable place.  

Our thinking was forced to evolve; our words and actions became more important than ever. We began to see that the choice of complacency was one for those with privilege under the status quo. If we are to truly play our part in bringing about just and equitable access to genetics and genomics, we must change. We must evolve our thinking.

Through it all, we actually did accomplish so many of the things we set out to tackle this year, a reflection of the strength, commitment and perseverance of our membership. But the challenges of 2020 also brought clarity to the direction of our actions as an organization, revealing the core mission we hold. Our broad and seemingly complex strategic plan boils down to two things:

  1. To adequately and equitably serve a more diverse patient population, we must foster a more inclusive, equitable community that can nourish a more diverse workforce.
  2. Achieving financial sustainability for our clinical workforce is imperative to continue to provide access to people in need of our services. 

No doubt, these are big things. They are also necessary things. With focus, attention and commitment, we can and will make progress. 

Thank you all for your partnership, engagement and commitment on this journey. I wish you all a safe and meaningful transition into 2021.  

Warm regards, 
Gillian Hooker

This article was published in the December 2020 Advocate Newsletter.

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