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History of Genetic Counseling 

History of Genetic Counseling
Chapter:
History of Genetic Counseling
Author(s):

Barbara B. Biesecker

, Kathryn F. Peters

, and Robert Resta

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190626426.003.0002
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date: 26 October 2020

The history of genetic counseling as a clinical practice ultimately has its roots in eugenics. Although medical geneticists distanced themselves from eugenic ideology after World War II, that separation was sometimes more in name than practice. The history of the genetic counseling profession does not have direct connections to eugenics, although the profession has since its inception been intimately connected with medical genetics and medical geneticists. Key historical moments in the emergence of genetic counseling as an independent profession include the creation of specialized master’s-level training programs beginning in 1969 at Sarah Lawrence College, the formation of a professional society (the National Society of Genetic Counselors), a professional certification process governed by genetic counselors separate from medical geneticists, the establishment of a professional journal, and working affiliations with a wide range of clinicians beyond medical geneticists such as obstetricians, oncologists, surgeons, cardiologists, and neurologists.

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