Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 713–728 | Cite as

Coming Full Circle: A Reciprocal-Engagement Model of Genetic Counseling Practice

  • Patricia McCarthy Veach
  • Dianne M. Bartels
  • Bonnie S. LeRoy
Original Research


As genetic health care and genetic testing expand from primarily addressing conditions that are exclusively genetic in nature to common diseases with both genetic and environmental components, the scope of genetic counseling has grown. Identification and utilization of a normative model of practice defined by members of the profession is critical as genetic services become more commonplace in medical care. The purpose of this paper is to describe the results of a consensus conference convened to define a model of genetic counseling practice based on the guidance of educators and leaders in the profession. Twenty-three program directors or their representatives from 20 genetic counseling graduate programs in North America listened to presentations and participated in group discussions aimed at determining the elements of a model of practice, including tenets, goals, strategies, and behaviors for addressing patients’ genetic concerns. Their discussion is summarized, training implications and research recommendations are presented, and a model of practice that extends their ideas is proposed.


Genetic counseling practice model Genetic counseling consensus meeting Genetic counseling tenets Goals Strategies Genetic counselor behaviors 



This project was supported in part by a grant from the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences, University of Minnesota.

We would like to thank our consensus conference participants: Bonnie Baty, Barbara Bowles Biesecker, Nancy Callanan, Fiona Field, Betsy Gettig, Ann Greb, Robin Grubs, Susan Hassed, Caroline Lieber, Anne Matthews, Sarah Noblin, Kelly Ormond, John Quillin, Casey Reiser, Cheryl Schuman, Kathryn Spitzer Kim, Carol Walton, Nancy Warren, Cathy Wicklund, Lori Williamson Cruse, Bev Yashar, and Randy Zinberg. We also thank our presenters, Michelle Fox, Robert Resta, and Jon Weil, for their valuable consultation regarding development of the conference format and content, for their excellent presentations, for their assistance with group discussions, and for their feedback on this paper. We thank Ling-Hsuan Tung for her assistance with the literature review for this project. Finally, we are grateful to the reviewers and the Editor of this journal for their incisive comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia McCarthy Veach
    • 1
  • Dianne M. Bartels
    • 2
  • Bonnie S. LeRoy
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, 206 Burton HallUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Center for BioethicsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, Institute of Human GeneticsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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