Requesting a genetic profile has become as common as ordering the latest mystery novel through the mail. But the plot of that novel may be a lot easier to follow on our own than the reams of complicated data that can accompany a genetic profile. Trained and licensed genetic counselors are crucial to interpreting that data and guiding subsequent decisions based on it.
No one knows that better than Colleen Campbell, PhD, MS, LGC, clinical assistant professor in Cardiovascular Medicine. For years, Campbell, who is also the Director of Genetic Counseling Operations at University of Iowa Health Care and the Assistant Director of the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics, advocated for the state of Iowa to require licensure for anyone claiming the title of genetic counselor. In 2018, those years of advocacy paid off when the requirement became law. This now ensures patient protection and oversight from a governing body. In addition, licensure enables genetic counselors to work at the top of their scope of practice and order genetic tests.
Campbell continues to advocate for genetic counseling at the state and local level as she helps to expand services offered to Iowans. Now, she will also advocate at the national level as she takes office as Secretary / Treasurer for the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NGSC). In addition to providing a network for communication issues of relevance to genetic counselors and publishing the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the NGSC established a Code of Ethics to which members adhere, ensuring consistency and safety for their patients.
“I look forward to helping advance our profession and increase awareness and access to genetic counselors as genetics becomes more commonly utilized throughout healthcare,” Campbell said. “I am excited about helping to lead our effort to improve patient access to genetic counselors through our federal effort for Medicare recognition.” She formally took office January 1, 2021, and will hold the position until December 31, 2021.