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Genetically Speaking Blog

NSGC Blog Genetic Counseling Amidst a Pandemic: What to do about your Prenatal Appointments

by Blair Stevens, MS, CGC

Clare Brennan 0 463

COVID-19 has significantly impacted the lives of people all around the world. While the pandemic’s effect on hospitals and the frontline healthcare workers is palpable, other aspects of healthcare are also affected. Elective surgeries are cancelled, medical supplies are scarce and clinical care teams struggle to rapidly transition to telehealth services so they are easily accessible to patients. Meanwhile, patients are fearful of exposure yet still need essential healthcare services unrelated to the pandemic.

In these chaotic times, few understand the fear and confusion that expectant mothers are facing. Will they be able to safely deliver their children in hospitals? Can they make it to their appointments, or should they even be going to them? 

Ashkenazi Jewish History: What Your Genetic Ancestry Results Can Tell You About Your Health

by Devin Cox, MS, CGC

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Genetic testing for ancestry is more accessible and affordable than ever, and every day it is helping people crack the code on their family histories. These ancestry tests originally gained popularity as people wanted to learn more about where they came from, who their relatives were and what cultures they were tied to. However, the field has now expanded, and some of these direct-to-consumer tests can review DNA and provide some basic information about a person’s health history.  Even if people aren’t searching for health information when they take a direct-to-consumer test, their genetic ancestry might reveal clues about their likelihood to inherit certain conditions. Such is the case for people of Eastern European descent who find out that they have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. This particular group of people has a history that is specifically linked with certain genetic diseases and conditions.    

Telehealth in Times of Crisis: Best Practices for Patients and Clinicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

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As more clinics and hospitals are restricting access to clinicians and cancelling non-essential appointments in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the use of telehealth services is increasing dramatically to ensure this counsel and other medical services can be provided.  Genetic counselors are not strangers to telehealth services; many have been providing telehealth services as an option to their patients for years. However, it has become more of an acute need right now as we are all facing the challenges of COVID-19.