The Ohio Genetic Counselor's Conference

Friday, September 21st, was the Ohio Genetic Counselor’s Conference.  It took place at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC).  As students of the University of Cincinnati’s genetic counseling program, we were able to attend the conference and listen to presentations given by genetic counselors from around the state. 
            We attended a lecture on newborn screening first.  Here we learned what is currently being tested for in the state of Ohio, the history of newborn screening and what to expect in the future.  We learned that the state is working to get the severe combined immunodeficiencies screening panel onto the newborn screen during 2013, and add the critical congenital heart disease panel onto the newborn screen in the near future.  During this presentation I learned that Ohio is the state with the 7th largest birth rate with around 140,000 births a year.  This is really exciting as a student especially interested in prenatal genetic counseling. 
            We also attended a talk entitled “Defining the Role of the Genetic Counselor in Epilepsy”.  I thought this talk was extremely interesting.  It discussed a genetic counselor working in a neurology clinic.  The speaker talked about the challenges of setting up her own role within this clinic, learning the specific terminology, and educating other providers on her scope of practice.  It was really exciting to hear about other genetic counselors creating their own roles, and expanding our field. 
            Many of the first years also got to introduce themselves to their first clinical supervisors.  It was nice to meet them and hear a little bit about their clinics before rotations start in two weeks. 
            In other news the student work area has been re-modeled and looks great.  The student area is in the Division of Human Genetics at CCHMC and is steps away from faculty and many of the geneticists we will be working with.  It’s a prime location to work on homework, do research, or meet with members of the faculty. 

Kate Heraty
First year student of the University of Cincinnati's Genetic Counseling Masters Program