Genomic Counseling: Next Generation Counseling
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Personalized medicine continues to expand with the development and increasing use of genome-based testing. While these advances present new opportunities for diagnosis and risk assessment, they also present challenges to clinical delivery. Genetic counselors will play an important role in ushering in this new era of testing; however, it will warrant a shift from traditional genetic counseling to “genomic counseling.” This shift will be marked by a move from reactive genetic testing for diagnosis of primarily single-gene diseases to proactive genome-based testing for multiple complex diseases for the purpose of disease prevention. It will also require discussion of risk information for a number of diseases, some of which may have low relative risks or weak associations, and thus, may not substantially impact clinical care. Additionally, genomic counselors will expand their roles, particularly in the area of health promotion to reduce disease risk. This additional role will require a style of counseling that is more directive than traditional counseling and require greater knowledge about risk reducing behaviors and disease screening.
KeywordsGenomic counseling Genome-based testing Practice development Genomics Whole genome sequencing Direct-to-consumer testing
This work was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (1R2HL096573-01A1). We thank Ms. Jennifer Sullivan for her thoughtful comments on previous drafts of the manuscript.
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