Laura Hercher, Genetic Counselor, Sarah Lawrence College
0:00 The ‘quantity’ problem
3:50 Will there be a time when we all see a genetic counselor?
9:17 New genetic technologies affecting us at a societal level
14:06 "CRISPR can’t change your zip code"
We often hear at conferences that there are too few genetic counselors. And that this bottleneck is constraining the delivery and promise of genomic medicine. Is this true?
It is 100% true, says Laura Hercher of Sarah Lawrence College in the second part of our interview on genetic counseling.
“We graduate just under 300 genetic counselors a year. And last year at our annual meeting [National Society of Genetic Counselors], there were posted over 600 jobs. We’re producing jobs at a much greater rate than we’re producing counselors.”
The interview moves to a broader discussion about how society goes about keeping up with the increasing amount and power of genomic technologies, such as new gene editing techniques. Laura reads an excerpt of her recent piece at the DNAExchange.com
“There is no simple solution to this, but the battle begins with how we define ‘we’. Genetics needs to remind us of what we share as often as it tells us how we are different. Many of you are out there every day fighting battles you may not recognize as part of a larger war: battling insurance companies for access, battling to bring diversity to our biobanks and clinical trials, supporting a new vision of family, in which our 99.9% shared DNA is enough, and we are not defined by the fraction that is identical by descent. We are educators in a field that is an agent of change, and so it falls to us to work for an ever more expansive and inclusive definition of ‘we’. Without that, we risk that the amazing technology of the genomic age will be perverted into a tool for doubling down on the things that divide us.
These are the days of miracles and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby don’t cry