Genetic counselors are an integral part of 23andMe, including a role in helping to shape many health related reports, features and services we offer. In honor of Genetic Counselor Awareness Day we’re highlighting their role at 23andMe and the important role genetic counselors play within healthcare more broadly.
What do genetic counselors do?
Genetic counselors have specialized training and education in both medical genetics and counseling. As their professional title suggests, genetic counselors lean upon their background training in counseling skills to help people looking for support to interpret and understand their test results.
We are proud to have six genetic counselors in various roles at 23andMe. While 23andMe genetic counselors do not provide individual genetic counseling services to our millions of customers, they work as a team to make access to genetic information possible on a large scale.
The work our Genomic Health team does is diverse and supports the various values that guide our company. Some of the team focuses on 23andMe reports, creating and updating the reports that bring clear and accurate genetic information to our customers. Others provide genetics education through learning programs for clinicians, informational videos on genetics, and articles and other communications for healthcare professionals.
Who are the genetic counselors at 23andMe?
“Making genetics accessible and paving a path towards precision medicine is an honor and a joy.”
Stacey joined 23andMe in 2016 as a Medical Affairs Associate and focuses on product, clinical, and educational development. She ensures our product and marketing include consumer-friendly information that’s medically accurate.
“For the past three decades, I eagerly anticipated this new era of precision and genomic medicine.”
Anne joined 23andMe in 2018 and leads our Medical Education Team. She specializes in educating clinicians on how to answer questions from patients about their 23andMe reports.
“I am thrilled that we are building unprecedented opportunities for people to access and benefit from their genome.”
Marlena joined 23andMe as a Medical Affairs Associate in 2022. Her roles are varied at 23andMe, from communication and research efforts to product and service development.
“I’m thrilled to help build a path for individuals on their health journey.”
Amy joined the 23andMe team in 2022 and is Director of Population Health Genomics at 23andMe. She provides expertise and strategic guidance across many teams at 23andMe as the company seeks to evolve and scale its health-related products and services.
“I am privileged to be helping people benefit from their genetic information while integrating principles of diversity, equity and inclusivity.”
Hannah (she/her) joined 23andMe in 2023. She works to develop clinical support tools and educational resources for healthcare professionals and interacts closely with the medical team that delivers genetics-informed clinical services through the 23andMe and Lemonaid Health platforms.
“Being a genetic counselor is not a job; it’s a way of approaching genetic information with appreciation, and respect.”
Brianne joined the Genomic Health team in 2023 as Medical Communications Manager. She leads the Genomic Health team’s communications within the company and externally with the network of providers who participate in 23andMe for Healthcare Professionals.
Why would I need to go to a genetic counselor?
There are several reasons you might benefit from meeting with a genetic counselor or other healthcare professional with training in genetics–if you’re seeking to better understand a test result, for example, or have a known genetic condition in your family. You might also meet with a genetic counselor if you are planning to start a family and are concerned about an inherited condition or are working with a fertility specialist and considering genetic testing as part of the process.
Here are a few more reasons: If you have a family history of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, a heart disorder, or another genetic condition, a genetic counselor may help you better understand what that specific history might mean for your own risks or for others in your family. Some people seek out genetic counseling after having a genetic test and learning that they have a genetic variant that puts them at a higher risk for a condition.
In all of these cases, genetic counselors can help you explore what the next steps might be for you and your family.
Where can I find a genetic counselor to work with individually?
There are several resources out there for you if you might be considering or interested in working with a genetic counselor one-on-one. Our post on sharing your 23andMe report with your healthcare provider helps 23andMe customers get started on the path. Customers may also work with a clinician that delivers genetics-informed services through the 23andMe and Lemonaid Health platforms. This is a group of healthcare professionals who have received specific training to answer questions about a growing number of 23andMe reports.
Another option is to search the Find A Genetic Counselor tool developed by the National Society of Genetic Counselors. There is also a directory of genetic counselors on the American Board of Genetic Counseling site. Finally, your doctor or other healthcare professional can assist in making a referral to a genetic counselor in your area.