UConn Health Center Genetic Counselors Make the Rounds

Jennifer Stroop, certified genetic counselor, at UConn Health with a patient. (UConn Health Photo)
Jennifer Stroop, certified genetic counselor, at UConn Health with a patient. (UConn Health Photo)
Robin Schwartz
Robin Schwartz, certified genetic counselor. (UConn Health Center Photo)

If cancer is in your genes, Robin Schwartz and Jennifer Stroop want to help you find out about it.

The UConn Health Center’s certified genetic counselors have been traveling to hospitals throughout Connecticut over the last several months to speak about cancer genomics best practices.

The talks are part of the Healthy People 2020 Action Project funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The project aims to increase the number of families identified as at-risk for hereditary cancer and integrate into practice the evidence-based genetic testing guidelines for two major hereditary cancer syndromes.  The project focuses on the national guidelines for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, and Lynch syndrome, which is a condition with high risks for colon and uterine cancer.

Jennifer Stroop
Jennifer Stroop, certified genetic counselor. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Center Photo)

“Our presentation’s objectives include identifying risk factors, ascertaining when to make referrals for genetic counseling and testing, and recognizing the public health and clinical importance of identifying individuals at high risk for hereditary cancer syndromes,” Schwartz says.

Schwartz or Stroop so far have presented at seven hospitals in the state, with four others planned, including at the UConn Health Center Thursday, June 7. Certified genetic counselors from the Yale Medical Center also are presenting at Connecticut hospitals.

“We think this is a wonderful model to stay informed about current recommendations and continue to improve patient care,” Stroop says.

“Physicians, nurses, social workers, tumor registrars, and other providers of care have attended these talks,” Schwartz says. “We have been delighted with the turnout and have enjoyed sharing practice recommendations and answering questions about the challenging cases we all face.”

The on-site grand rounds are preceded by an information packet provided to Connecticut health care practitioners about the recommendations for referral and identification of individuals and families at risk for hereditary cancer.

“Everyone enjoyed having Robin here,” says Donna Goss, certified cancer registrar at Backus Hospital in Norwich, where Schwartz presented April 26. “They had lots of questions, and it was very informative.”

The presentation is titled “Cancer Genomics: Best Practices in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer and Lynch Syndrome.” DPH plans to post a video of one of the talks on its website this summer.

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