The Common Disease in the Family History

NSGC is pleased to announce the Online Course: The Common Disease in the Family History

Course Objectives

After participating in The Common Disease in the Family History online sessions, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify patterns of common diseases (such as diabetes, autism, hearing loss, and cancer) in the family history.
  • Interpret family history information to determine the familial risk and recurrence estimates for their patients.
  • Determine appropriate testing and/or referrals for patients with a family history of common disorders.
  • Describe clinical and research treatment options for common diseases.

Course Format

The course consists of 10 pre-recorded presentations written by leaders in the genetics community. The presentations include the presenter's lecture, fully synchronized to their slide presentation. All presentations will be posted online via the NSGC web site for access and review. Participants can to listen to presentations on their own schedule, any time of day by accessing the NSGC web site. The format also allows for increased information retention - since each of us learn at our own time and pace, the amount of information retained from the presentation is often greater with a self-directed process.

Participants interested in earning CEUs for participation in The Common Disease in the Family History will be required to complete and pass an online quiz for each presentation with a score of 80% or greater.

Course Session Titles, Presenters and Learning Objectives

  1. Session Title: Common Birth Defects Seen in a Family History
    Presented By: Dr. Ossie Geifman-Holtzman
    Learning Objectives:
    • To identify common birth defects that can have a recurrence within families.
    • To summarize what is suggestive in a family history that would increase the risks for these birth defects.
    • To review available screening and diagnostic options for these birth defects.
  2. Session Title: Ethnicity-based and Pan-Ethnic Carrier Screening
    Presented By: Sallie McAdoo
    Learning Objectives:
    • To identify high risk ethnicities and the conditions for which they are at risk for being carriers of as well as common conditions for pan-ethnic screening.
    • To have an understanding of the testing options available to assess for these conditions.
    • To be able to accurately perform risk assessment based on these histories and any available test results.
  3. Session Title: Genetics of Diabetes - What We Know and What Can We Do
    Presented By: Toni Pollin, MS, PhD, CGC
    Learning Objectives:
    • To be familiar with the classification and etiological heterogeneity of diabetes mellitus.
    • To be aware of the current state of the science with regard to genetic factors in the development of diabetes.
    • To be aware of the existence and prevalence of single gene forms of diabetes, available genetic testing, and how genetic testing might alter patient care and familial risk assessment.
    • To have a basic understanding of what information elicited during a genetic family history can help to distinguish among forms of diabetes and therefore enable efficacious genetic counseling.
  4. Session Title: Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Presented By: Katie Voss
    Learning Objectives:
    • Identify red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and associated conditions in a family history, and assess familial and recurrence risks for ASD.
    • Understand the genetic testing options available to families.
    • Review recent research on ASD, treatment options and outcomes in children and adults.
  5. Session Title: Genetics of Ocular Disease
    Presented By: Tanya Bardakjian, MS, CGC
    Learning Objectives:
    • To identify eye diseases which indicate a red flag for genetic disease.
    • To gain knowledge about ocular disorders with genetic components.
    • To be able to provide appropriate testing, referral and research options.
  6. Session Title: Psychiatric Illness in the Family History
    Presented By: Jehannine Austin
    Learning Objectives:
    • Attendees will be able to provide families with accurate yet understandable information about the etiology of psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression and address psychosocial issues that arise from this discussion.
    • Attendees will be able to generate individualized risk assessments for psychiatric illness based on empiric data and information from personal and family history.
    • Attendees will be able to discuss interventions to reduce risk for the development of or manage existing psychiatric illness.
  7. Session Title: Keys to Identifying Hereditary Cancer Syndromes
    Presented By: Leigha Senter Jamieson
    Learning Objectives:
    • Participants will be able to identify the family history characteristics suggestive of hereditary cancer syndromes.
    • Participants will be able to utilize appropriate models for cancer family history risk assessment.
    • Participants will be able to determine testing strategies for families concerned about hereditary cancer risk.
  8. Session Title: Cardiac Genetic for the Non-Expert
    Presented By: Amy Curry-Sturm
    Learning Objectives:
    • Describe basic cardiac anatomy and function in addition to the various types of cardiovascular disease that may be encountered while taking a pedigree.
    • Identify the medical and family history characteristics suggestive of hereditary cardiovascular conditions.
    • Outline the methods used to obtain a family history of cardiovascular disease frequently found in general genetic counseling sessions and determine whether further evaluation, including genetic testing, is warranted.
  9. Session Title: The Genetics of Hearing Loss
    Presented By: Dinah Clark, MS, CGC
    Learning Objectives:
    • Overview of the physiology of the ear and genetics of hearing impairment.
    • Diagnoses and etiologies of syndromic and nonsyndromic hearing impairment.
    • Pertinent questions to ask when taking a family history and hearing impairment is identified in a family member.
  10. Session Title: The Genetics of a Stroke
    Presented By: Heather Workman
    Learning Objectives:
    • Identify etiology and types of stroke.
    • Identify common genetic syndromes associated with stroke.
    • Identify risk factors within a pedigree.

Registration Information and Fees

Registration is now available! To purchase the course please go to the Online Education page and click on the button to "Add to Cart". The registration fee includes access to all 10 online presentations as well as all CEU fees. Partial access will not be granted. Registration fees are as follows:

  • NSGC Member: $175
  • Non-Member: $225

(Contact for Student member price options) 

  • NSGC Student Member: $75
  • Student Non-Member: $100
  • Course directors: $275 (covers access for 15 students; no CEU certificates provided)

Accessing the Course

Once you purchase the activity, you will need to wait up to fifteen minutes for the server to enable access within your NSGC member record.


While you are logged-in to the NSGC website, click on the NSGC Logo on the top right corner of whatever page you are on. You will then be taken to the NSGC Member Center. In the Quick Links box, click on the "My Online Courses" link. You will then be taken to a page with instructions on how to access your online courses, and how to optimize your experience. The link to your online courses is labeled "Connect to Your Courses." Make sure the NSGC Online Learning Center page is open at all times while working within a unique module. Also, all pop-ups within the Online Learning Center need to be closed before closing out of the Online Learning Center in order to record your activity within the course. Please call NSGC headquarters at 312.321.6834 with any questions.

From NSGC's Online Learning Center, you will see the course under the training manual section. Click on any one of the ten module titles to participate in the individual session.

Course participants who choose to earn CEUs will have 2 years to complete and pass the quizzes to earn CEUs.  Participants can print their CEU certificate online immediately after completing the quiz and won't need to wait for NSGC to issue CEUs!


The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) has approved this program for up to 0.88 CEUs or 8.80 contact hours through 6/25/2016. CEUs earned through this program will be accepted by ABGC as Category 1 CEUs for purposes of certification and recertification.

Attendees interested in earning CEUs for participation in The Common Disease in Family History online sessions will be required to complete and pass an online quiz for each session with at least an 80%.

Planning Workgroup

  • Jennifer M. Hoskovec
  • Julianne O'Daniel
  • Joy Larsen Haidle
  • Amanda M. Carre
  • Stephanie Hill
  • Erica Ramos
  • Kate Shane
  • Sharon Aufox
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