Bob has retired. What are the Resta us going to do now?

A few months ago, Robert Resta shared his plans to retire with the DNA Exchange author group. Retirement announcements have felt more bitter than sweet during these strange times of Covid-19 when we cannot gather to recognize the moment and celebrate the incredible careers of our friends and mentors. And what a remarkable career Bob has had. Following completion of his genetic counseling training at UC Irvine in 1983, Bob started work at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA. He worked at Swedish for 37 years, first as the director of genetic counseling in the perinatal clinic and then founding the hereditary cancer clinic in 2006. It is pretty remarkable in this day and age when genetic counselors move jobs so frequently that Bob dedicated nearly four decades to one institution. In addition to counseling thousands of patients over the years, Bob has contributed much to the genetic counseling profession. He was on the editorial board for the Journal of Genetic Counseling for 10 years and Editor-in-Chief from 1995-2001. He has contributed to numerous books and has authored dozens of peer reviewed publications. And, to date, he has authored 117 essays for the DNA Exchange. 

While I had known he had been edging towards retirement for a while now, I had hoped that he would continue to provide his unique form of wisdom on DNA Exchange for years to come. He has said that he doesn’t think he’ll have much to contribute to the blog in his retirement and he encouraged us to think of bringing in new voices to this forum.

Although I wish him the very best in his retirement I hope he might speak up now and then. We have so much more to learn from him. Of course I understand that now that he is no longer working in a clinic, we will not see funny, thought-provoking, touching posts about patient interactions. And he may not keep up with what is happening with this lab or that lab to be able to offer his commentary on changes in the industry and how it is affecting patients.

I have appreciated every piece Bob has written, however what has been most important to me have been those that provide historical perspective. He has a remarkable gift for using a historical lens to provide context for what is happening today. And he has a unique gift for shining a light on even the darkest corners of our profession’s formative years with wit and wisdom that allows us to take in uncomfortable truths. We need to keep reflecting on this history as the field progresses.

If indeed Bob no longer feels inspired to write for the DNA Exchange (or even if he does) it is worthwhile to go back to the DNA Exchange archives and read his prior publications.

Fun Fact: the number one most popular post of all time on the DNA Exchange is, “And Bob’s Your Uncle: A Guide To Defining Great Aunts, Great-Great Grandparents, First Cousins Once-Removed, and Other Kinfolk.” This essay has topped the charts nearly every day since it was published, garnering over 189K views at the time of this post.

Some other fan favorites of Mr. Resta’s posts include:

p + q = Solved, Being the True Story of How the Chromosome Got Its Name

Why “H.R.3235 The Access To Genetic Counselors Services Act” Makes ACMG Feel Threatened By Genetic Counselors (Again)

Facts, Figures and Fictions in Genetic Counseling

What Do We Mean By “Psychosocial” in Genetic Counseling?

While many of his short essays provide historical context for genetic counseling he also has several that predict the future of the field. I will admit that I have lost sleep over some of these posts, at least the ones that I dislike his predictions. Perhaps this is because he’s been right so many times. It’s as if he has the power to set our destiny by putting words on the internet.

Work Shift: A (Wrong?) Prediction

Who The Hell Do We Think We Are? 12 Questions About The Future Of Genetic Counseling

Are We There Yet?

Will the DNA Exchange fade away without Bob? If asked, he might predict this would be the case. After all, he has written more than 40% of the content for this blog and has been our steadiest contributor since it was founded in 2009. But despite Bob’s facility for predicting the future, the fate of the DNA Exchange is really in our hands. This is a call to those of you among our genetic counseling who want to contribute and share your unique and diverse perspectives on the field we love. We need to hear from you!

The best tribute we could offer Bob is to help new voices keep alive the forum he helped to build. A new generation of genetic counselors has much to tell us.  I hope that some of you will choose to share those stories here, in the tradition of Bob Resta, the cranky and wonderful sage of genetic counseling. 


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8 responses to “Bob has retired. What are the Resta us going to do now?

  1. Carrie Fagerstrom

    Bob graduated From the UCI program in 1983, not 1993 … one year ahead of me. Otherwise, a great tribute to a great guy.


    On Mon, Feb 8, 2021 at 10:38 AM The DNA Exchange wrote:

    > Katie Stoll posted: ” A few months ago, Robert Resta shared his plans to > retire with the DNA Exchange author group. Retirement announcements have > felt more bitter than sweet during these strange times of Covid-19 when we > cannot gather to recognize the moment and celebrate the” >

  2. June Peters

    Great memories of being a West Coast counselor friend and colleague of Bob’s in the 80s and early 90s. Bob you continued to explore, create, inspire, investigate, amuse, and lead us for many decades. I have no doubt that you will continue to dazzle into the future after a well deserved rest.
    Your pal, June

  3. Heidi Beaver

    I have always considered Bob to be the GC world’s equivalent of the national poet laureate. A treasure who will be missed!

  4. Beth Ann Burt

    An excellent tribute to an Excellent guy that I was lucky enough to know personally. Though most of his comments were centered around genetics, don’t you really want to speak to him about politics? Now that would be an earful!!!!! Bob, your insight will be dearly missed- but we all wish you a fabulous future in your “golden years” . Time for the “young’ings” to step up and provide their thoughts in where our profession is going, Luv to you and yours. Beth-

  5. Your legacy already continues, Bob – in the pun in the title of Katie’s post and in the link to the National Library of Medicine with your peer-reviewed publications that I have used before and will use again.

    It has been a privilege to know and work with you.

    Congratulations and Best Wishes,


  6. Linda Mills Knight

    I will miss seeing your posts Bob. Thanks for taking us down all of those roads. Enjoy!

  7. You know, Bob, nothing’s changed. You are still a man in need of a blog. I look forward to seeing what you do next! It’s been a great honor being your blog partner, truly.

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