Genetic Clinics and Counseling

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Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling is a professional assessment of a patient's risk factors regarding their family history or a pregnancy. The goal of genetic counseling is not only risk assessment, but also to explain cause/inheritance of a disorder, availability of testing, prognosis and management/ treatment, and options. Genetic counseling sessions typically last one hour, or longer, depending on the complexity of the case. There is usually no charge for patients who need further genetic counseling after their first session (i.e. such as in the case of an abnormal prenatal diagnostic result). Each counselor is assigned to one patient for continuity in complicated cases.

Genetic Counselors

Genetic counselors have a minimum of a master's degree in genetic counseling or a related field. The former includes extensive training in both human genetics as well as psychology. Board Certification for Genetic Counseling is offered every three years by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. All Genetic Counselors at Emory Genetics are Board-Certified and work under the supervision of a Board-Certified M.D. Clinical Geneticist, who reviews and signs out on all of the genetic counseling cases.

Genetics Counseling Session

Typically, the components of a genetic counseling session include:

  • Asking the patient, couple or family their understanding of why they were referred.
  • Obtaining a family pedigree of at least 3 generations (preferably 4), documenting all genetic conditions and health problems, with medical records.
  • Obtaining the couple's environmental history and personal medical history.
  • For a child or adult suspected of a genetic disorder, their environmental and personal medical history are also obtained.
  • Obtaining the mother and father's reproductive history.
  • Explaining the genetic causes of birth defects.
  • Explaining the diagnosis of a genetic disorder or risk of a genetic disorder, the inheritance, recurrence risk, prognosis, management and treatment options.
  • Explaining genetic testing options for the current or future pregnancy, or for symptomatic or at-risk individuals in the family. This may include research studies depending on the disorder.
  • Provide supportive counseling and referral to patient support groups and/or other families with similar experiences.
  • Support the individual, couple or family in whatever decision best suites them, with regards to the information received, their personal, religious, and moral values. In this manner, genetic counseling is non-directive.

Depending on the situation, follow-up sessions are sometimes needed. These sessions are scheduled with the same genetic counselor for continuity and confidentiality.

Genetic Counselors

Audrey Bibb, M.S.
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor

Eleanor Botha, M.S.
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor
Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Stephanie Cagle, M.S.
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor
Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Judy Dill, CGC
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor

Dawn Laney, M.S.
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor
Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Val Long, M.S.
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor
Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Christine Stanislaw, M.S., CGC
Board-Certified Genetic Counselor
Cancer Genetics and General Genetics

Anjana Varma, M.S.
Genetic Counselor

Atlanta

The Emory Clinic Department of Human Genetics (404) 778-8570

Summary Notes and Letters

Summary notes from counseling sessions are faxed to the referring physician following the genetic counseling session.