Now that I have finally unpacked, caught up on sleep and have school almost under control, I thought I would share some of my favorite parts of this year’s NSGC conference that was in Pittsburgh last month. For those of you new to the genetic counseling word, NSGC is the National Society of Genetic Counselors. This group promotes the professional interest of genetic counselors and provides a network for professional communications. Each year they hold a conference to educate genetic counselors on new technology and research being done in the field.
It was my first time attending and no amount of advice can prepare you for 1,500 genetic counselors all in one place for four days talking about genetics. My memory of the conference may also be slightly clouded by the pet show going on in the conference center at the same time, but I will attempt to recap what stuck out to me the most at the conference. (Confession: My classmates and I may have spent most of our breaks watching dog jumping competitions.) While I would love nothing more than to fill this page with the pictures and videos I took of dogs, I will focus on two videos that were shown at the conference that I really enjoyed. Anyone interested in genetic counseling should take a look!
The first video is Twitch, a documentary about an 18 year old that undergoes genetic testing for Huntington’s disease. The film follows Kristin Powers and her decision to get testing for a severe neurodegenerative disorder that took her mother’s life. It is an extremely emotional documentary following a young woman and her family. Kristin was at the conference for a question and answer session following the viewing. It was tremendously helpful as a student and soon to be (!) genetic counselor to hear about what goes in to someone making a decision about genetic testing. We offer testing so often that I think it is easy to forget about how life changing a test result can be.
Check out the trailer!
The second video that I want to highlight is a video created by NSGC to help educate patients and providers. The video walks through what a genetic counselor does, when someone should see a genetic counselor and what to expect during your appointment. It is a great video for any prospective students out there that are looking to learn more about what it means to be a genetic counselor!
Check it out on YouTube!
If you didn’t get your fill of genetics today from those two videos, I have one more of my favorites from the conference…a podcast! Check out RadioLabs podcast, Antibodies part 1, which features Carl Zimmer. He gave a talk at the conference about CRISPR. Rather than me attempt to explain this amazing (and complicated) technology, take a listen to the podcast. Enjoy!
Give the Podcast a listen! RadioLab: Antibodies Part 1