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Genetic Counselor Conflict of Interest

Management of conflict of interest (COI) within individual practice or employment situations is an issue of ongoing discussion within the genetic counseling community.  COI or perceived COI may result from financial compensation to an individual genetic counselor (e.g. speaker fees, advisory committee honoraria, etc.) or may result from the company employing the genetic counselor.  This issue has been highlighted in several media reports and will continue to arise as awareness of and interest in genetic counseling continues to grow.  

NSGC is committed to continued dialogue regarding genetic counselor COI and how it has the potential to affect the genetic counseling profession and those individuals, institutions and organizations that genetic counselors interact with in their daily work.  

COI Resources for Genetic Counselors

In mid-2016, NSGC chartered a Task Force to develop education and guidance to its members around this important issue. The Task Force has developed the following resources for NSGC members to use as they navigate COI within their various roles:

  • NSGC COI Guiding Questions: 
    Questions to consider regarding specific employment/practice settings and/or consulting arrangements in order to help members determine whether they have a COI.

  • NSGC Genetic Counseling COI Checklist:
    A set of questions to assist genetic counselors in assessing their own knowledge and awareness of potential COI.

  • NSGC Genetic Counseling COI Reference Sheet
    A resource outlining basic COI information, including the definition of COI, why COI is significant, types of COI, and education on value-added services versus inducements.
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