Lately I have been thinking about the future of genetic counseling and where the profession should be heading. What with busy work schedules, institutional budget crises driven by a shaky economy , and the emotional burdens of caring for our patients, it is easy to lose track of the bigger picture of what the genetic counseling profession should be striving for. So, over a beer (perhaps two), I decided to step back from the craziness of the workaday world and put together some thoughts about where I think our profession should be headed in the coming years. The order of this Top Ten List does not reflect priority. In earlier drafts, I re-ordered the items so often as to destroy any test/re-test reliability. They are all critical, I guess.
Read the list. Argue some points with me. Think it over. Venture your own ideas in the Comments section. Have fun with it.
A “Top Ten” Agenda For The Genetic Counseling Profession For The Next Decennium
1) Work on our relationship with, and develop a better understanding of how we are perceived by, people with disabilities, and their advocates.
2) Integrate our services into the evolving landscape of widely available genetic testing for many common and rare genetic conditions.
3) Develop, conduct, and publish a coherent research agenda about the process and outcomes of genetic counseling so we can effectively deliver genetic counseling in meaningful ways to improve the medical, psychological, and social well-being of our patients.
4) Ensure that genetic counselors are covered providers in all pubic and private insurance plans so that every patient, regardless of socio-economic status, has access to our services.
5) Educate ourselves to stay up to date in the rapidly growing field of genetic medicine, and encourage personal and professional growth.
6) Develop and grow our counseling skills to ensure that all patients receive psychologically, emotionally, and culturally sensitive genetic counseling.
7) Increase the demographic diversity of the profession to reflect our patient population.
8) Increase the professional diversity of genetic counseling jobs and skills so that we are an integral part of all relevant aspects of clinical care, as well as policy development and implementation, laboratory medicine, academics, government services, and research.
9) Encourage active involvement in our professional organizations (NSGC, ABGC), and with our relationships with other professional organizations, to ensure that we have a public face that reflects our priorities and that advocates for the profession.
10) Maintain the highest quality in our training programs to ensure that the profession continues to be supplied with bright, thoughtful, ethical, empathic, and well-educated individuals.