Definition of Counselor, genetic

Counselor, genetic: A health professional with a specialized graduate degree and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling.

Genetic counselors enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work.

Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families and individuals who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. They identify families at risk, investigate the problem, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence, and review available options with the family or individual. Genetic counselors also provide supportive counseling, serve as patient advocates and refer individuals and families to community or state support services. They serve as educators and resource people for other health care professionals and for the general public. Some counselors also work in administrative capacities. Many engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics and genetic counseling.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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