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Recognising the importance of genetic counsellors

The key role genetic counsellors play in the support and care of patients with genetic conditions will be publicly marked in Australia for the first time.
The Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors (ASGC) has partnered with the US National Society of Genetic Counsellors (NGSC) for Genetic Counsellor Awareness Day, on Thursday 8 November.
“Many people are unaware of how genetic counsellors could help them, and many who might benefit from seeing a genetic counsellor may not know we exist,” said Laura Yeates, Chairperson of the Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors (ASGC).
“Genetic counsellors have specialised training in genetics and counselling, and play a vital role in helping individuals and families understand the impact of inherited conditions. We can provide support and guidance on whether genetic testing may or may not be right for you, and help you make informed choices about your healthcare.”
Melbourne Genomics genetic counsellor based at Monash Health, Belinda Creighton, welcomed the move to mark Genetic Counsellor Awareness Day in Australia.
“Genetic counsellors are integral to the delivery of genomic testing to patients,” Belinda said. “As genomics in healthcare continues to advance, genetic counsellors will become more prominent. This Awareness Day is an important step in building public awareness of what genetic counsellors do and our value in empowering individuals and families.”
According to the ASGC, there are more than 240 genetic counsellors in Australia and New Zealand. Genetic counsellors work across adult and paediatric medicine, in areas including cancer, pregnancy and infertility, cardiology, neurology.
On 8 November, ASGC is encouraging genetic counsellors, as well as those who have benefited from their services, to share their experiences using the hashtag #ANZGeneticCounsellors on social media.
See the ASGC's frequently asked questions for more about genetic counselling.