The Counseling Team

Traditionally, the medical genetics counseling team has included a medical geneticist, a genetic counselor, and often the referring primary care physician, usually an obstetrician or pediatrician. Genetic counselors typically earn a Master of Science degree at an accredited institution and are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counselors. Dedicated training in the field of cancer genetics has recently been added to the curricula of genetic counseling education programs. There is also a growing interest in genetics on the part of nurses, many of whom are beginning to seek specialized training in the field. As the field of genetic counseling has expanded to include adult diseases such as cancer, other disciplines, including oncology, molecular genetics, social work, and psychology have joined the team to provide the multi-disciplinary approach needed. Originally, cancer risk counseling programs were mainly situated in cancer centers and academic institutions, but increasingly these services are expanding to community hospitals, worksites, and health centers where they are often one component of a more broadly based health promotion program.

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