top of page
banner.jpg

Save the Dates:

PAGC Annual Conference
MARCH 21-22, 2024
Magee Woman's Hospital Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania Association

of Genetic Counselors

shape1.png

News & Announcements

University of Pennsylvania
Genetic Counseling Program
awarded grant to increase diversity
in student enrollment

Warren Alpert Foundation awards $9.5 Million grant to

the University of Pennsylvania for scholarships to incoming students. Scholarships include tuition and living expenses. Four other genetic counseling programs are participating in awarding scholarships. UPenn Program Director, Kathy Valverde, is the P.I. 

Newsletter image.jpg

SEPTEMBER 2023
Newsletter Issue

(newsletter is released in April and September)

Updated Management Guidelines
for 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

Resources to Supplement Newsletter Article
for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Bev's Gift

PAGC is privileged to offer the

Beverly Tenenholz Memorial Scholarship (Bev’s Gift).
Scholarships are intended for PAGC members who require financial assistance with costs related to
professional development activities, for students enrolled in a Pennsylvania GC Program, and for individuals working towards enrollment in a GC Program.

Updated Info Coming Soon!

Scroll down to see featured genetic counseling students from the PA GC programs

About  PAGC

We are a 501 (c)(6) non-profit organization that supports the professional growth of the genetic counseling community in Pennsylvania. There are great opportunities on the horizon for those who would like to volunteer their time and experience to support the needs of genetic counselors in our state. Please explore our site to get to know us and visit our Membership Page for more information about how you can get involved.

View Our Executive Board

PAGC values diversity and inclusion as core tenets to the field of genetic counseling. PAGC promotes the use of language that is conscious of these principles and encourages all members of the genetic counseling community to engage in language that is acceptable. 

 

Resources for learning about fluidity in gender identity if you are looking for more information:

  • Barnes H, Morris E, Austin J. Trans-inclusive genetic counseling services: Recommendations from members of the transgender and non-binary community. J Genet Couns. 2020 Jun;29(3):423-434. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1187. Epub 2019 Nov 11. PMID: 31710150; LINK to article

  • von Vaupel-Klein AM, Walsh RJ. Considerations in genetic counseling of transgender patients: Cultural competencies and altered disease risk profiles. J Genet Couns. 2021;30(1):98-109. doi:10.1002/jgc4.1372; LINK to article

  • Sheehan E, Bennett RL, Harris M, Chan-Smutko G. Assessing transgender and gender non-conforming pedigree nomenclature in current genetic counselors' practice: The case for geometric inclusivity. J Genet Couns. 2020 Dec;29(6):1114-1125. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1256. Epub 2020 Mar 30. PMID: 32232917; LINK to article

PAGC Membership

PAGC was formed to promote genetics education, foster professional development,  encourage communication and facilitate access to services in the state of Pennsylvania. Professional membership, participation in conferences and webinars, and volunteer support are crucial to our success!

shape1.png

Featured Genetic Counseling
Graduate Students

Runa, Samantha - headshot _edited.png
Pitt logo.jpg

Samantha Runa

University of Pittsburgh Genetic Counseling Program


What was your major as an undergraduate?

I majored in Biology with a focus in genetics, and I minored in political science and chemistry.


What attracted you to pursue a career in genetic counseling?

I always wanted to work in the field of genetics and was suggested this career path by a family friend who was a genetic counselor and saw the potential in me. Once that spark was given, I loved that I could combine my drive to help others and genetics and put that into a career path.


What field of genetic counseling are you most interested in post-graduation?

I am hoping to go into pediatrics; however, I love the idea of having multiple specialty points or being able to split my time between clinic and research. Being able to have a dynamic position that allows me to touch on all aspects of my training, from clinical to research to psychosocial to advocacy, would be my dream position.


What has been the most valuable aspect of your training so far?

The most valuable aspect is the diversity of rotation sites that we are provided and also the fact that we are provided an optional rotation site where we can stretch our wings and try new specialties that we may not be able to have access to on a long-term scale. All the extra exposure to different specialties and clinics gives us a different background and view, which will allow for me to provide exceptional transdisciplinary care to patients and their families, and be knowledgeable about their overall care and who may be involved in that care.


Please provide a brief description of your thesis project.

My thesis project is titled “Diagnostic Rates of Rapid Sequencing in Critical Patients”, and it is focused on the diagnostic rate of rapid exome sequencing for patients stratified by their clinical presentation. This data can hopefully be used in future research to discuss when individuals should be offered rapid sequencing and could demonstrate the benefits of testing coverage to insurance companies.

Cioffi, Kate - headshot_edited.jpg
Pitt logo.jpg

Kate Cioffi

University of Pittsburgh Genetic Counseling Program

What was your major as an undergraduate?

Biochemistry


What attracted you to pursue a career in genetic counseling?

I first heard about genetic counseling in one of my biology classes in high school. I kept the career in the back of my mind as my interest in science began to burgeon. When I went off to college, I discovered my passion for molecular biology and genetics. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career where I could combine clinical work with the science I had come to love, I was reminded of genetic counseling. I am so appreciative that this field enables me to work with patients while keeping up with the cutting edge of genetics.


What field of genetic counseling are you most interested in post-graduation?

My interests in the field are quite broad. I have come to really enjoy the wide range of indications and continuity of care found in a pediatric setting. On the other end of the spectrum, I have also enjoyed seeing the depth of knowledge that comes from working in a subspecialty clinic like adult cardiology. I am also very interested in pursuing a position outside of the traditional clinical space, such as in laboratory/industry where I can utilize my skills in molecular genetics gained during my undergraduate career and honed during my graduate training.


What has been the most valuable aspect of your training so far?

The most valuable aspect of my training has been the unique rotation experiences afforded to me by my program, in addition to in-depth exposure to the more conventional genetic counseling specialties of cancer, prenatal, and pediatrics. I have been able to rotate in a Primary Care Precision Medicine Clinic as well as in an inpatient pediatrics setting, which are experiences that contributed greatly to my education.


Please provide a brief description of your thesis project.
I am conducting a quality improvement study with individuals who have received genetic counseling and testing through a hereditary gastrointestinal tumor program. The aim of the study is to learn about barriers and facilitators to adherence to recommended management strategies and cascade testing in probands identified by the clinic.


 

Maxwell, Carolyn - Pitt Fall 2022 - photo_edited.jpg
Pitt logo.jpg

Carolyn Maxwell

University of Pittsburgh Genetic Counseling Program

What was your major as an undergraduate?

Bachelor of Science in Biology

 

What attracted you to pursue a career in genetic counseling?

I was attracted to the field of genetic counseling because it was a mix of really interesting genetics topics, while also being able to provide psychosocial support to patients.

 

What field of genetic counseling are you most interested in post-graduation?

I am really interested in working in a primary care and precision medicine setting. My degree in public health will also be an asset in this innovative and emerging field. 

 

What has been the most valuable aspect of your training so far?

The support and guidance I have received from program leadership and clinical supervisors.

 

Please provide a brief description of your thesis project.

I am looking at the clinical utility of pharmacogenomics in hospice care through the lens of the quadruple aim of health care. Pharmacogenomic testing helps predict medication response based on genetic changes and can help guide medication dose choices or medications to avoid. In the hospice care population, patients are seeking comfort care at the end of life and pharmacogenomic testing could help patients achieve comfort as quickly as possible.

 

bottom of page