Member Center

Public Health SIG


The NSGC Public Health Special Interest Group promotes the integration of genetics and genetic counseling into public health practice. Our primary strategies are educating genetic counselors about public health theory and practice, educating public health practitioners about genetics and genetic counseling, and faciliting the exchange of information and resources among genetic counselors working in public health.

The number of Genetic Counselors working in public health has increased over the last few years and opportunities for genetic counselors to work in public health are expected to increase in the future. Genetic counselors coordinate state genetics programs and projects, educate the public and health care providers about genetic issues, work in state chronic disease programs to integrate genomics into their activities and administer screening programs.

Many practicing Genetic Counselors routinely participate in activities that they may or may not think of as being public health-related, e.g. serving on advisory committees and testifying at legislative hearings. Also, genetic counselors particpate in public health programs when they counsel the parents of newborns with genetic conditions detected by newborn screening or pregnant women at increased risk to deliver a baby with a health problem detected by maternal serum screening.


Being a member of the Public Health SIG enables those of us with a professional role or interest in public health genomics to help one another, serve as a collective resource on this topic both within and outside NSGC, and to influence and promote the integration of genetics and genetic counseling into public health practice. Here are some examples of some recent and current happenings. An article, currently published online ahead of press with the Journal of Genetic Counseling, reports the results of a survey conducted on SIG members. It characterizes the roles, training, and experiences of public health genetic counselors. The public health SIG also awards a small grant to a genetic counseling student based on ability to further our public health genetics mission. The results from last year’s recipient will be presented at this year’s NSGC meeting; NC primary care providers’ awareness, perceptions, experience, and use of DTC genetic tests. The SIG is supporting two educational breakout sessions at the 2010 annual meeting. We plan to contribute to position statements that address public health issues such as newborn screening. Lastly, we have a formal listserv where we can share resources, inform about conferences, and discuss issues. What ideas do you have for the SIG? What would you like to see accomplished? We’d love to have you join our group!


Access the Public Health SIG community (including the Public Health Discussion Forum and SIG Documents) here.

Join Now: To add this SIG to your NSGC membership, please visit your member profile. From the Actions tab, select the "Add Membership Package" option and select the SIG you would like to join. You will then be able to pay online or print an invoice to mail with a check.

Grants/Award Opportunities

Review SIG grant award opportunities. 


Becca Vanderwall
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Andrea Durst
University of Pittsburgh/Human Genetics

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