Once thought of as a “career of the future,” genetic counselors now play a vital, daily role in clinical healthcare. As genomic technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, genetic counselors often partner with physicians to help navigate the ever-changing landscape of genetic testing while helping patients understand what tests may be right for them. Genetic counselors also empower patients and their families with information, guidance, and emotional support to help them understand their family history, evaluate genetic testing options, and make informed choices based on test results.
Genetic counselors work in a variety of specialty areas including prenatal, pediatrics, oncology, neurology, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, and genomic medicine. “In the future, I imagine genetic counselors being engrained in every role and every discipline of medicine,” notes Marcos Gonzales, Global Segment Lead, Rare Diseases. At Illumina, we have over 20 in-house genetic counselors in various departments that work closely with scientists, researchers, and our customers to ensure we are providing the most accurate technologies.
"In the future, I imagine genetic counselors being engrained in every role and every discipline of medicine."
Genetic counselors serve as advocates for not only the patient but the patient’s entire family— to ensure siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, children and more can all benefit from genetic testing. Genetic counselors can provide emotional support, discuss whether or how to deliver difficult findings to family members, and also provide recommendations for community support services.
On Genetic Counselor Awareness Day, we celebrate these valuable members of the Illumina family and share a little about what they do and what they believe the future holds for genetic counseling.