Genetic counselors are health professionals possessing specialized graduate degrees and clinical experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling.
Genetic counselors are trained in accredited Masters Degree programs and individually certified via examinations administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Genetic counselors are committed to expanding their knowledge of advances in medical genetics via continuing education activities and professional networking.
Evaluate and assess risk for genetic disease by:
- Obtaining and interpreting individual and family histories.
- Identifying and facilitating appropriate diagnostic studies and tests.
Communicate information about genetic disease by:
- Assessing client’s education and knowledge level.
- Discussing inheritance, natural history, diagnosis and management.
- Facilitating informed decision-making.
- Providing clear written documentation to clients and medical providers.
Assess the psychosocial and cultural impact of genetic disease by:
- Evaluating and tracking the client’s response to the information.
- Providing supportive, client-centered counseling.
- Utilizing appropriate resources to enhance the adaptation process.
Genetic counselors work in universities, public and private health care settings, in private practice and in scientific laboratories and companies throughout Texas ( http://www.nsgc.org).
Genetic counselors provide care in settings including:
- Ultrasound and prenatal diagnosis units
- Infertility treatment centers
- Pediatric clinics
- Cancer care centers
Disease specific clinics including muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell care centers
Texas has the 5th largest population of genetic counselors in the U.S.
Texas is one of a few states that recognize the necessity for genetic counseling services in its Medicaid codes.
- Genetic counselors touched the lives over 85,700 patients and families, a 62% increase in the total number of patients served in only 4 years.
- Genetic counselors cared for almost 27,000 pregnant women at risk for fetal birth defects or genetic disease, 8,300 children and adults living with genetic disorders and 3,800 individuals at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes.
- Genetic counselors provided consultation to more than 45,000 individuals, families and physicians utilizing genetic testing or information services.
- Genetic counselors helped more than 1,200 individuals and families decide whether or not participating in genetic research was right for them.
- Over 60,000 pregnant women at risk for fetal birth defects or genetic disease.
- Over 19,000 newborns with birth defects.
- Approximately 1000 couples who will lose a pregnancy or a child to birth defects.
- An additional 6,200 individuals with diagnoses of genetic disease (435,000 Texans will receive genetic diagnoses in their lifetimes).
- Approximately 4,000 Texans who will be diagnosed with a hereditary cancer syndrome.
- An estimated 1 million women seeking primary care with a family history risk factor for hereditary cancer.
For the protection of Texas health care consumers seeking genetic counseling services by:
- Ensuring that appropriately qualified professionals provide genetic counseling.
- Mandating continuing education for providers of genetic counseling services.
- Attracting trained Genetic Counselors to the State of Texas.
To promote increased awareness by both consumers and health care providers of the genetic counseling services available in Texas.
To ensure that Texas maintains its role as a national leader in the provision of genetic health care services.