Stronger diversity among genetic counselors could help bridge health gap with minority groups

| | August 9, 2019
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Altovise Ewing, who has a doctorate in human genetics and counselling, now works at 23andMe. Image: Karen Santos/NPR
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As genetics’ role in medicine expands, diversity among providers is crucial, say people working in the field. “It is well documented that people want medical services from people who look like them, and genetic counseling is not an exception,” says Barbara Harrison, an assistant professor and genetic counselor at Howard University.

Ethnic and gender diversity among providers can also increase the depth and scope of information patients are willing to share in the clinical settings — information that’s important to their health.

“In my opinion,” says Erica Price, who just received her master’s in genetic counseling from Arcadia University, “no one fights for the black community the way other black people do. I encounter a lot of other African Americans who don’t know what genetic counseling is. But when they find out that I’m a genetic counselor, they will give me their entire family medical history.”

As a part of its strategic plan for the years 2019-2021, the NSGC has identified diversity and inclusion as one of its four areas of strategic focus. Specific plans include developing mechanisms to highlight genetic counseling as a career in hard-to-reach communities by the end of the year. 

Read full, original post: Genetic Counselors Of Color Tackle Racial, Ethnic Disparities In Health Care

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