McGee ’05M Publishes on an Innovative Approach to Genetic Counseling

By schwartzsa | May 27, 2011

Dawn McGee ’05M co-authored “The Alpha-1 Association Genetic Counseling Program: An Innovative Approach to Service,” which was recently published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling. The paper discusses the Alpha-1 genetic counseling programs as a model for other rare diseases.

“This article was born out of the idea that the Alpha-1 Association was one of the first patient communities to have a genetic counselor specifically for their community,” says McGee. “The article reports on the first two years of operation and the number and nature of calls and how the Program has continued to grow. The field of genetic counseling is continually expanding and pushing the boundaries of the profession and I wanted to illustrate how my current position is doing just that.”

Employed at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, McGee serves as the Program Director of Alpha -1 Association Genetic Counseling, which provides national toll-free and confidential genetic counseling for Alpha-1. Having founded the program, she travels around the country several times a year giving presentations about various aspects of Alpha-1 and works as a research coordinator on multiple research studies related to Alpha-1.

Recently, McGee has taken her research to Arcadia’s campus. After approaching Kathy Valverde, Assistant Professor and Director of Arcadia’s Genetic Counseling program, she mentored Brittany Mclarney ’11M and Rebecca Cook ’11M who conducted their theses on Alpha-1.

“This was the first time I was a mentor and I really enjoyed the role,” she says. “It was amazing to see how hard these students worked and how they matured into really great genetic counselors. Genetic counselors are lucky to have them entering our community.”