Speaker Profiles

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Setareh AshtianiSetareh Ashtiani, MSc, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Alberta Health Services

Setareh Ashtiani completed her graduate studies in genetic counselling at the University of British Columbia. She has worked as a clinical and research genetic counsellor throughout her career, and has primarily focused on genetic counselling for neurogenetic and ocular genetic conditions. She joined the Movement Disorders Program at the University of Alberta as a research genetic counsellor in February 2014, and since then, she has been a part of the Canadian consortium of scientists (CanHSP) for patients with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), as well as worked as a research coordinator for the Enroll-HD study. She currently works with the Neurogenetic and Ophthalmic Genetic Services at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta. She has many research interests, including genotype-phenotype correlations in inherited movement disorders, and utility and uptake of genetic testing in diagnosis of ocular genetic conditions.

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Tina Babineau SturkTina Babineau Sturk, MSc Genetic Counselling, CCGC, Genetic Diagnostic Specialist, LifeLabs Genetics

Tina Babineau Sturk grew up in rural New Brunswick and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology at the University of New Brunswick. She continued her studies at McGill University where she completed her Master of Science in Genetic Counselling. Tina worked for 16 years in the clinical setting at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax and is certified by the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors. Throughout her years of practice, Tina worked to establish new models of care in genetic counselling. She has published some of her experiences on the use of telehealth in genetics and has spoken at professional conferences about the development of delegated medical functions for genetic counsellors. For four years, Tina was the manager of the Maritime Medical Genetics Service for four years where she advocated for genetic services at the senior leadership level as well as with the government representatives of the three Maritime provinces. She joined LifeLabs Genetics in July of 2016 and is working remotely from her home in Halifax.

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Kirsten BartelsKirsten Bartels, MSc, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program, St. Paul’s Hospital

Kirsten completed her MSc in Genetic Counselling at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2011. Since graduating she worked in various areas of cardiac genetics. First as a research genetic counselor examining the impact of Long QT syndrome on First Nations people of Northern British Columbia; then in 2013, Kirsten joined the Heart Failure Clinic and Adult Metabolic Disease Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital as the first genetic counselor to provide care in both these clinics. In 2014, Kirsten joined the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP), the Heritable Aortopathies Clinic and the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital as the primary genetic counselor for all three of these province-wide interdisciplinary services. She is currently the provisional Program Coordinator for the BCIAP. Outside of the clinic, Kirsten teaches as an instructor and clinical supervisor within the UBC MSc Genetic Counseling Program.

Speaking in:

  • Cascade Recanting: The Impact of Variant Reclassification in a Provincial Cardiogenetics Program

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Angela BedardAngela Bedard, MS, CGC, Genetic Counsellor, BC Cancer Agency

Angela Bedard is a genetic counsellor with the BC Cancer Agency’s Hereditary Cancer Program. Previously she worked as a genetic counsellor and clinical lecturer at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Since that time, she held other professional roles, including Director of an Infusion/Cancer Program in Alamosa, Colorado, and Program Leader with the BC Cancer Agency’s Provincial Cancer Survivorship Program. Angela lives in Abbotsford, BC, with her husband and daughter.

She is currently involved in research projects related to evaluation of universal screening for Lynch syndrome in BC, and assessment of cascade carrier testing within a provincial program. She continues to be actively involved with the CAGC as a member of the Crossover newsletter committee, and development of educational materials related to genetic testing and insurance.

Speaking in:

  • DNA-direct: A trial of a new approach to genetic service delivery

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Rachel ButlerRachel Butler, MSc, CGC, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Olive Fertility Centre

Rachel has been working in a fertility setting for the last seven years and joined Olive Fertility Centre when it opened in 2013. She completed her BSc at UVic, her MSc in genetic counselling at UBC and is a Clinical Instructor at UBC. Rachel has worked in the Maritime Medical Genetics Service in Halifax as the prenatal and metabolic point person and also at the UBC Clinic for Alzheimer Disease & Related Disorders, and UBC Multiple Sclerosis Clinic. Rachel is excited to be offering the latest genetic testing technology for both patients embarking on a pregnancy at Olive Fertility Centre and those who are already pregnant.

Speaking in:

  • Analysis of PGD Outcomes at Olive Fertility Centre Inc.

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Colleen CaleshuColleen Caleshu, Lead Genetic Counselor, Clinical Assistant Professor (Affiliated), Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease

Colleen Caleshu is the Lead Genetic Counselor in the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and a Clinical Assistant Professor in Medical Genetics at Stanford University. Her research interests include interpretation of genetic and genomic tests in cardiology, including the role of the clinical genetic counselor in test interpretation and discordance in variant classifications made by clinical teams and testing labs, as well as psychological care for inherited cardiovascular isease and the integration of genetic counselors into cardiology. As a member of the ClinGen Cardiovascular Domain Working Group she has worked on development of cardiomyopathy-specific variant interpretation guidance and assessment of the strength of gene-disease associations in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Colleen received her masters in genetic counseling from Johns Hopkins University and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Colleen has served as vice-chair of the NSGC Education committee, chair of the NSGC Cardiovascular Genetics SIG, and chair of the SIG’s Education Subcommittee. She has also served on American Heart Association working committees on policy recommendations for genetics in cardiology and on secondary genetic findings. At Stanford she lectures in the medical school and genetic counseling program, sits on the psychosocial curriculum committee of the genetic counseling program, co-directs the cardiovascular genetics course, and supervises genetic counseling trainees in both clinical rotations and research projects.

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Melanie CareMelanie Care, MSc, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Genome Diagnostics, Department of Clinical Laboratory Genetics, University Health Network – Toronto General Hospital

Melanie Care, MSc, CCGC, obtained her Honours Biology degree from McMaster University and completed her Masters in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto. She spent her early career in the Genetics Program at North York General Hospital in Toronto, where she had primary roles with the Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic and the Ontario Maternal Serum Screening program. In 2007 Melanie joined the team at the Fred A. Litwin Family Centre in Genetic Medicine, a combined adult clinical genetics program of the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Her most recent role involves an unconventional timeshare between the Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic and the Department of Clinical Laboratory Genetics at Toronto General Hospital.

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Deanna Alexis CarereDeanna Alexis Carere, MA, MS, ScD, CGC/CCGC, Postdoctoral Fellow, Population Health Research Institute, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine, McMaster University; Genetic Counsellor, Lipids Genetics Clinic, Hamilton General Hospital

Deanna Alexis Carere is a Michael G. DeGroote Postdoctoral Fellow in Genetic Epidemiology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. As a Fellow, her research focuses on the genetic and molecular connections between cardiometabolic disease (e.g., diabetes, dyslipidemia, stroke, and heart attack) and cognitive decline/dementia in older adults. She also serves as the genetic counsellor for the Hamilton General Hospital Lipids Clinic and a clinic-based whole exome sequencing research study of patients with early onset stroke and heart attack. Dr. Carere completed her doctorate in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, where her dissertation focused on direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing and the clinical integration of new genomic technologies. She has authored a number of peer-reviewed papers in clinical genetics; presented poster and oral presentations at national genetics conferences; and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Genetics in Medicine and the Journal of Genetic Counseling. Prior to completing her doctorate, she worked as a clinical genetic counsellor in cancer and metabolic genetics at the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Medical Genetics Program in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She currently serves as co-Chair of the CAGC Annual Education Conference Committee; a member of the NSGC Abstract Workgroup; and as an ABGC Certification Exam Item Writer.

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Prescilla CarrionPrescilla Carrion, MSc, CGC, CCGC, Senior Research Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Prescilla Carrion is a senior research genetic counselor and clinical assistant professor in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Department of Psychiatry. She received her MSc in Genetic Counseling from UBC in 2009. She obtained her Canadian and American Board certifications in genetic counseling in 2011. She has over 10 years of experience in psychiatric genetic research, starting in the UBC Department of Medical Genetics working with the Autism Spectrum Interdisciplinary Research Program. Prescilla workede with Dr. Jehannine Austin and the Translational Psychiatrics Group (TPGG) for four years prior to shifting to her current position at UBC Hospital with the Institute of Mental Health Centre for Care and Research (IMH CCR) in September 2014. Her role in the IMH CCR includes leading her own genetic counselling research as a clinician investigator and the provision of psychiatric genetic counselling to patients enrolled in this research focused on building an evidence base for PGC in patient populations for which genetic counseling outcome data is lacking. She also is involved in clinical research coordination for the IMH CCR, providing project management and collaborating on multiple research studies with her colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry.

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Sanaa ChoufaniSanaa Choufani, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Choufani holds a Ph.D. in cell Biology from Université de Sherborooke, Quebec and held post-doctoral fellowships at SickKids with Drs Steve Scherer and Rosanna Weksberg.

Dr. Sanaa Choufani, is currently a Senior Research Associate in the Genetics and Genome Biology program at The Hospital for Sick Children. She is working in the research group of Dr. Rosanna Weksberg. Dr. Choufani’s research focuses on the study of epigenetic mechanisms leading to overgrowth disorders. She works on the identification of new molecular markers that can distinguish different growth and neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Susan ChristianSusan Christian, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, University of Alberta

Susan Christian is a certified genetic counsellor with Alberta Health Services and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Alberta. Her research focus in on the impact of a diagnosis of an inherited arrhythmia or cardiomyopathy on children and adolescents.

Speaking in:

  • Families want predictive genetic testing early in childhood for inherited arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies

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Susan CreightonSusan Creighton, Clinical Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Susan Creighton is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, and a Genetic Counsellor in the Provincial Medical Genetics Program at UBC and Children’s and Women’s Hospitals.

Susan has been a Genetic Counsellor in Vancouver since graduating from Sarah Lawrence College (New York) in 1983. She runs the Predictive Testing Program for Huntington Disease at UBC where she sees and counsels individuals in BC who wish to embark on this process. She consults to other clinics, research and support services at the UBC Centre for Huntington Disease as well as conducting research on predictive testing for HD. She also provides genetic counselling services through the Provincial Medical Genetics Program, and teaches and supervises graduate students at UBC, including the UBC Genetic Counselling Program. Susan is a past president of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors.

One of Susan’s proudest accomplishments is her two grown children, with whom she shares a love of the outdoors and the natural beauty we’re fortunate to have in British Columbia.

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Lauren CurrieLauren Currie, MSc, CCGC, CGC, Genetic Counsellor, IWK Health Centre

Lauren is a clinical genetic counsellor with a primary focus in hereditary cancer and prenatal genetics. She graduated from the UBC training program in 2009 and has been working at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, NS since that time. Lauren is certified by both the CAGC and the ABGC. Lauren has experience with the CAGC as Crossover editor, Board of Directors Treasurer and a previous member of the Local Organizing Committee.

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Stephanie Desmarais, MSc, CCGC, CGC, Certified Genetic Counsellor, Hereditary Cancer Clinic- Alberta Children’s Hospital

Stephanie Desmarais is a certified genetic counsellor in the Hereditary Cancer Clinic in Calgary, Alberta. She graduated from the MSc in Genetic Counselling program at McGill University in 2008, and has practiced in a variety of genetic subspecialties, but mostly cancer genetics, in her hometown of Calgary ever since. This is her first presentation at CAGC and she is grateful for all the support of her colleagues and family.

Speaking in:

  • The gynecology-oncology BRCA (GO-BRCA) Pilot Project: Oncologist-mediated genetic testing of the BRCA1/2 genes for women with ovarian cancer

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Christele du SouichChristèle du Souich, MSc, CCGC, CGC, Genetic Counsellor, BC Women’s Hospital

Christèle is a Montreal native who received her undergraduate degree in Biology/Human genetics from McGill University in 1993. She then went on to complete a Master’s degree in genetic counselling from McGill University in 1995 and subsequently was certified through both the Canadian and American Boards of Genetic Counselling. She moved to Vancouver in 1995 where she worked as a clinical genetic counsellor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the BC Women’s Hospital, in prenatal, paediatric and adult genetics. In 2015 she joined the CAUSES team, a 3 year translational research initiative that provides genome-wide sequencing to 500 pediatric patients (and their parents) with suspected genetic conditions. As the primary genetic counsellor, she is involved in the selection of patients, providing pre- and post-genetic counselling, and participating in variant discussions. In 2016, she also became the principal genetic counsellor for the RAPIDOMICS project which provides rapid exome sequencing to NICU patients at BC Women’s Hospital suspected of having a genetic disorder. She is responsible for the pre- and post-genetic counselling, and results discussion.

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Laura FarrellLaura Farrell, BSC, MD, FRCPC Internal Medicine, M MEd, University of British Columbia

Laura Farrell is a General Internist working mainly at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in the Urgent Medical Assessment clinic and on the Clinical Teaching Unit. She is also the Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Education for the Island Medical Program in Victoria. Laura completed her undergraduate education at UVIC, her MD at UBC and her IM residency in Calgary.

After beginning her career in Lethbridge, AB, Laura moved home to Victoria where she has been practicing for the last 9 years. She also has a Masters of Medical Education through the University Dundee focusing her research on Goal Oriented Feedback.

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Tracy FutchTracy Futch, MS, PhD, CGC, Genetic Counselor – Advanced Diagnostics, Quest Diagnostics

Tracy Futch is a field Genetic Counselor in the Denver, Colorado area, specializing in Oncology and Neurology. She provides physician- and provider-facing assistance with genetic test selection and result interpretation, both in person and by telephone, along with educational speaking engagements to current and future clients. In addition, she develops educational materials for clinicians and patients.

Dr. Futch joined Quest Diagnostics in 2015 after working as a genetic counselor in a managed care setting evaluating genetic test preauthorization requests. Her experience includes positions as a laboratory genetic counselor for large and small commercial labs and as a clinical counselor in oncology, pediatric and prenatal specialties.

Dr. Futch is a board certified genetic counselor with a Master of Science in genetic counseling, and a PhD in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in neuroscience from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. She is a licensed genetic counselor in Utah and Massachusetts.

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Jane GairJane Gair, BSc, PhD (Medical Genetics), Teaching Professor, University of Victoria, University of British Columbia

I have a PhD in Medical Genetics from UBC and am a full time medical educator. I am a Teaching Professor at the Island Medical Program in the Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria which is a distributed site of the University of British Columbia medical school. I am the Case-Based Learning Lead and train the teachers to use this pedagogy to teach our medical students.

I work closely with 1st and 2nd year medical students teaching them in a number of their courses using CBL, small group discussions, as well as lectures and workshops in genetics.

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Kate GardinerKate Gardiner, MSc, CGC, CCGC, Risk Assessment for Pregnancies with Low Fetal Fraction, LifeLabs

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Kate Gardiner received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo, studying Science and Business with a minor in Economics, and her Master of Science in the program of Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College (SLC). With SLC, she was a fellow with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at the Westchester Institute of Human Development. She is a published author of several studies relating to Palliative Care and Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome, respectively. In the field of genetic counseling, she is certified by both the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) and the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and has had experience in Australian, Canadian and American healthcare systems in the fields of preconception, prenatal, pediatric, adult and cancer genetics in both public and private settings. Kate is a member of the CAGC and is currently the Certification Board Chair.

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Clare GibbonsClare Gibbons, MS, Genetic Counsellor, Research Manager, North York General Hospital

Clare Gibbons received a Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling from Sarah Lawrence College in 1996 and then joined the Genetics Program at North York General Hospital in Toronto. She is an American Board and Canadian Board certified genetic counsellor. She currently works in a general genetics clinic seeing a wide variety of patients and is a member of the Multidisciplinary Huntington Disease Clinic (HD).

She is actively involved in a number Huntington disease related research projects including the lead study coordinator for two clinical trials for treatments for HD symptoms and a large international observational study called Enroll HD. She has also been an investigator in two research projects related to disclosing HD information to at risk children and computerized working memory training for individuals with HD.

She was the study coordinator for three NIPT studies. She is currently involved in a lab test development research project for a new test called a liquid biopsy which may have applications for cancer treatment and screening.

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Colleen GuimondColleen Guimond, Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Colleen Guimond is a certified genetic counsellor with an undergraduate degree from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and a Master’s degree in Genetic Counselling from the University of British Columbia. She has worked at the UBC Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Clinic and Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders. She is currently co-ordinating a Canada-wide study of familial Alzheimer disease. She holds a second post at Olive Fertility Centre. Ms. Guimond is a UBC certified Clinical Instructor and is involved in lecturing, teaching, and supervison of students in the UBC School of Medicine and the UBC Genetic Counselling Training Programme.

Speaking in:

  • Targeted Screening in Familial Late Onset Alzheimer Disease

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Cynthia HandfordCynthia Handford, MSc, LCGC, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Color Genomics, Inc.

BSc Honors Molecular Genetics, University of Alberta, 2002
MSc Microbiology & Biotechnology, University of Alberta, 2005
MSc Genetic Counselling, University of British Columbia, 2007
Cynthia has 9 years experience providing genetic counselling for hereditary cancer. She previously worked as a genetic counselor for Alberta Health Services and has recently moved south of the border to work for Color Genomics. She is enjoying the warmer weather but missing Tim Horton’s!

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Jessica HartleyJessica Hartley, Program Director, MSc in Genetic Counselling Program, Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Jessica Hartley is the Program Director for the MSc in Genetic Counselling Program at the University of Manitoba. She is an assistant professor within the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences. Jessica received a Masters of Genetic Counselling from Northwestern University in 2008. She is a certified genetic counsellor with clinical experience in metabolism, newborn screening, cystic fibrosis and neurogenetics.
Jessica has membership in the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and has research interests in the provision of genetic health care to underserved populations, interprofessional care models, and the clinical, genetic and psychosocial impact of metabolic diseases. In her current role she is responsible for curriculum development, advocacy, teaching and oversight of clinical rotations and thesis projects for students within the Manitoba Genetic Counselling Program.

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Stephanie HedgesStephanie Hedges, MSc, BSc, Genetic Counsellor, University of Toronto

Stephanie graduated in 2013 from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science in Physiology. She then became involved in various research and volunteer opportunities and graduated from the University of Toronto MSc in Genetic Counselling Program in 2017. She currently works in Kingston as a Genetic Counsellor at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Speaking in:

  • Exploring the Perceptions of Female Carriers of X-linked Conditions on Having Carrier Daughters

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Catriona HippmanCatriona Hippman, MSc, CGC, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Catriona Hippman has been a certified genetic counselor since 2009, specializing in research at the intersections of perinatal health, mental health, and genetics. As a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, she has been involved in teaching genetic counselling students, medical students, and psychiatry residents. In September 2014, she returned to UBC to pursue her PhD “Promoting perinatal mental health: Personalizing treatment decision making strategies through decision-making support and pharmacogenetics”. She is supported by a UBC Four Year Fellowship, a CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS-D), and a UBC Killam Doctoral Scholarship.

Speaking in:

  • Exploring the influence of prenatal aneuploidy screening on maternal-fetal bonding: Development of a theoretical model

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Katherine HodsonKatherine Hodson, M.Sc., CGC, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Dynacare Next

Katherine Hodson graduated from McGill University’s Genetic Counselling Program in 2006. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in Genetics from the University of Western Ontario. As a genetic counsellor, she has practiced both in traditional clinic and laboratory-based settings. Currently, she specializes in prenatal and laboratory genetics at Dynacare, where she provides education and support to practitioners ordering prenatal testing and their patients. She has previously provided prenatal genetic counselling in both high-risk and community genetics clinic settings.

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Stephanie HoangStephanie Hoang, MSc, CGC, CCGC, Ocular Genetic Counsellor, Alberta Health Services/University of Alberta

Stephanie Hoang graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Science degree in Genetic Counselling in 2010. She joined the Eye Institute of Alberta at the Royal Alexandra Hospital through Alberta Health Services as a clinical ocular genetic counsellor shortly thereafter. In 2011, she also assumed the role of research study coordinator within the Eye Institute of Alberta at the University of Alberta as part of the Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team. As part of an investigator-sponsored choroideremia gene therapy clinical trial, Stephanie was heavily involved in the various approval processes including ethics submissions and Health Canada applications as well as day-to-day study participant management for the duration of the study period and close out. Currently, she is involved in initiating two other clinical trials for inherited retinal disorders.

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Angela InglisAngela Inglis, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Angela Inglis is a genetic counsellor and a clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. In Feb 2012, Angela became the first genetic counsellor to provide services exclusively for people with psychiatric disorders and their families in the context of the worlds first specialist clinic of its kind. Prior to this, Angela worked in clinical psychiatric genetics research for a number of years, coordinating and overseeing the day to day operations for a research program which involved studies in postpartum depression, stigma among family members of individuals with psychiatric disorders, and a genetic counseling study for individuals with psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder).

Speaking in:

  • Behavioural Changes After Psychiatric Genetic Counselling: An Exploratory Study

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Young JoeYoung Joe, Bilinguals International

Young Joe has worked as a professional interpreter, primarily in healthcare and community, for over 10 years and is a passionate advocate of language access and the professionalization of community and healthcare interpreting.Young Joe founded Bilinguals International as a vehicle to champion the continued professionalization of interpreters by providing inter-professional training on “How to Work with Interpreters” to students in health care and social work discipline at UBC. Before she became the first and only Certified Medical Interpreter in Canada in 2016, she earned her master’s degrees in Translation & Interpreting and in International Relations from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia in 2008. As an enthusiastic interpreting trainer, she teaches interpreting skills and at Vancouver Community College and Simon Fraser University in English to students with all the language combinations. Young Joe is an avid rock-climber, so you will find her on rocks at Smoke Bluffs in Squamish on weekends.

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Isabel JordanIsabel Jordan, Board Chair, Rare Disease Foundation

Isabel Jordan is one of the founding members and the current Chair of the Rare Disease Foundation. 15 years into parenting 2 children, 1 with a rare disease, has taught her many lessons – one of which is that partnering with health care providers and researchers can improve and inform both care and research. Connecting with other parents and health care providers has made her a strong proponent of patient advocacy and family and patient led care.

Isabel has spent the past few years spreading the word about patient partnership in both research and clinical practice through her blog, social media and through opportunities in health care & research conferences, and patient engagement opportunities in research projects. You can reach Isabel through her blog http://modelingchange.blogspot.ca/ or on twitter/@seastarbatita.

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Jane JuusolaJane Juusola, PhD, FACMG, Clinical Molecular Geneticist, Director of Clinical Genomics, Gene Dx

Jane Juusola is an ABMG-certified Clinical Molecular Geneticist and Director of the Clinical Genomics Program at GeneDx. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Microbiology and her Ph.D. in Biomolecular Sciences from the University of Central Florida. Jane worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the FBI research lab in Quantico for 2 years, after which she joined the Molecular Diagnostics laboratory at the VCU Medical Center in a training capacity. While at VCU, Jane completed her clinical training in the Department of Pathology and Department of Human Genetics. Jane joined GeneDx in 2012 and her interests include disorders of the immune system, gene discovery, and developmental disorders.

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Aalok Kumar, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Medical Oncologist / Clinical Assistant Professor, BC Cancer Agency – Fraser Valley / University of British Columbia

Aalok Kumar, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, completed medical school at the University of Toronto, and went on to do his Internal Medicine training at McMaster University. Dr Kumar then moved out west and completed his medical oncology training along with a fellowship in medical gyne-oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. He has also completed his Masters of Health Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He currently works as a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency Fraser Valley Cancer Centre, actively involved in clinical trials and health outcomes research.

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Meena Mahey KumarMeena Mahey Kumar, B.Sc (Hons), MS, CGC, Sales Director, Canada, Blueprint Genetics

Meena Mahey Kumar is a board certified genetic counsellShe majored in Cell and Molecular Biology with honours at Simon Fraser University in Canada and has a Master of Science in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College, USA. She has worked at BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital Medical Genetics as a genetic counsellor, PerkinElmer Inc as the account manager for Western Canada, GeneDx as the account manager for BC and is currently the Sales Director for Blueprint Genetics Canada. Meena is also a member of the UBC Genetic Counselling Advisory Board and the CAGC GC Roles Task Force Committee. Meena believes that genetic counsellors can make enormous contributions in the field of genetics and genomics.

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Jeffrey MacCormackJeffrey MacCormack, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology and Inclusion, University of Lethbridge

Currently an assistant professor of Educational Psychology and Inclusion at the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education, Dr. Jeffrey MacCormack is also a father of an adolescent child with autism spectrum disorder. As a former classroom teacher, Dr. MacCormack’s research on after-school programs, executive functions, social competence, and play-based learning is also informed by 10 years of experience teaching elementary students and 5 years teaching post-secondary adult learners. His work has focused on creating spaces where youth can thrive. He also has an orange-tabby Persian kitten, who is a troublemaker.

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Julie MacFarlaneJulie MacFarlane, MSc, CCGC, Provincial Lead, Screening Programs, BC Prenatal Genetic Screening Program, Perinatal Services BC, Provincial Health Services Authority

Julie joined Perinatal Services BC in May 2009, which is an agency that provides leadership, support, and coordination for the strategic planning of perinatal services in British Columbia and is the central source in the province for evidence-based perinatal information. Julie is the Provincial Lead for Screening Programs. Her portfolio includes Prenatal Genetic Screening, Newborn Screening, and Biliary Atresia. For the Prenatal Genetic Screening Program, she is responsible for establishing and maintaining the infrastructure for centralized and coordinated screening throughout BC, as well as producing guidelines and education materials for both care providers and patients.

Julie has had extensive experience managing large-scale clinical genetic and pharmaceutical programs from her previous years at Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Burnaby, BC. She is also a Canadian certified genetic counsellor, with a Master of Science from the University of British Columbia, and a Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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Sarah McIntoshSarah McIntosh, MSc, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia (Island Medical Program)

Sarah completed her MSc in Genetic Counselling at the University of British Columbia in 2000. She began her career working in hospital-based genetics clinics in New Zealand, Vancouver and Victoria. She gradually transitioned into the research setting over the years, and has been working with Dr. Laura Arbour’s Community Genetics Research Program in Victoria since 2006.

She is the genetic counsellor and coordinator for multiple community genetics research studies, including “The Impact of Long QT Syndrome on First Nations people of Northern British Columbia: A Community Based Research Program” and “Primary Biliary Cirrhosis in First Nations Peoples of BC”. She also works part-time as a clinical genetic counsellor with the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program, focusing on the Long QT syndrome referrals from Northern BC. Having grown up in the small coastal village of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island, Sarah finds it rewarding to collaborate with other remote BC First Nations communities to tackle important research questions related to health and genetics.

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Kristen MillerKristen Miller, MS, CGC, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, North York General Hospital

Kristen Miller graduated from the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College in 2010. She has worked as a clinical genetic counsellor in the Toronto area since graduation. Her focus is in prenatal genetic counselling, and predictive counselling for adult onset conditions, mainly Huntington disease.
Kristen has been involved with the CAGC Media and Communication Committee, and is currently part of the Certification Committee.

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Nasim MonfaredNasim Monfared, MSc., Senior Genetic Counsellor, Flow Health Laboratories LLC

Nasim Monfared is the senior genetic counsellor at Flow Health Laboratories LLC. Prior to joing Flow Health, she was the coordinator and genetic counsellor for the SickKids Genome Clinic. In this role she recruited and counsels patients undergoing exome and genome sequencing, interpreted and reported variants generated through these tests and counselled patients and families about results of these investigations. Nasim has an interest in the practical and ethical implications of clinical implementation of genomic technologies and the impact of predictive/secondary findings in clinical and research settings. She has contributed to qualitative studies examining the experience of patients and healthcare providers with exome and genome sequencing.

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Jennifer NukJennifer Nuk, MSc CGC CCGC, Clinical Coordinator/Genetic Counsellor, BC Cancer Agency Hereditary Cancer Program

Jennifer Nuk is a genetic counsellor, clinical coordinator and instructor in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC Cancer Agency Hereditary Cancer Program; University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine Department of Medical Genetics). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria and a Master of Science in Genetic Counselling from the University of British Columbia.

Current interests include integrating the evolving landscape of hereditary cancer genetic testing in to contemporary service delivery models, enhancing public and health care provider education and increasing access to inclusive genetic services for underserved and diverse populations.

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Karen PanabakerKaren Panabaker, MSc, MSc, CGC, CCGC, Senior Genetic Counsellor, London Health Sciences Centre

Karen received her Bachelor of Science with Honours in Genetics at the University of Manitoba, and pursued post-graduate training at the University of British Columbia where she completed a Masters degree in Medical Genetics, as well as McGill University where she earned a second Masters degree in Genetic Counselling. She began her career as a Genetic Counsellor in Vancouver, and played a lead role in developing the BC Provincial Hereditary Cancer Program. Karen has been working in London, Ontario since 2006 and is the Senior Genetic Counsellor in the Medical Genetics Program at London Health Sciences Centre. Karen continues to practice as a cancer genetic counsellor, and has been an active member of various Ontario Ministry of Health and Cancer Care Ontario committees regarding the provision of cancer genetic services in Ontario.

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Robyn RoscoeRobyn Roscoe, BSc, PMP, Director, Management and Administration, BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre

Robyn Roscoe is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with 15 years of experience in the management of large health research projects, and over 20 years experience in project management in the scientific and technical fields. She is currently Director of Management and Administration for the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre (GSC), responsible for project, finance and operations management. Robyn holds a BSc from the University of Manitoba.

In 2016, Robyn was the recipient of the Research Management Excellence Award from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators. In 2017, CARA awarded her their Innovation Award.

Robyn is committed to expanding knowledge and interest in the field of research project management, and to enabling scientific communications, knowledge transfer and responsible conduct of research through sound management approaches and education.

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Intan SchraderIntan Schrader, University of British Columbia

Dr. Schrader is a clinician-scientist in the BC Cancer Research Centre’s Department of Molecular Oncology, medical geneticist at the Hereditary Cancer Program, BC Cancer Agency, and an Assistant Professor in the University of British Columbia’s, Department of Medical Genetics. She received her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Melbourne and completed her medical genetics training at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Schrader undertook her graduate studies at the BC Cancer Agency in the University of British Columbia’s, Department of Pathology and undertook her Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinician-Scientist training award studying novel hereditary cancer susceptibility gene discovery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Schrader’s research and clinical interests are focused on improving the diagnosis and management of cancer susceptibility in individuals and families affected by the disease.

Speaking in:

  • Cancer Gene Discovery: Germline and Tumor Sequencing

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Connie SchultzConnie Schultz, MS, CGC, PreventionGenetics

Connie received her Master of Science degree in Medical Genetics from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1994. In 1996 she obtained certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, with recertification in 2006 and 2016. Her career began in the laboratory doing medical research, them moved to a clinical laboratory, achieving certification in histocompatability and immunogenetics. Since completing her genetic counseling degree she, has accumulated over 2 decades of additional relevant experience; providing clinical genetic counseling in prenatal, oncology, thrombophilia, neuromuscular and neurogenetics. She has extensive experience as part of multidisciplinary teams, and played significant roles in the review of genetic testing for compliance with genetic testing policies prior to joining PreventionGenetics. Connie has also developed and implemented genetic testing policies in both clinical and insurance settings. She has coordinated clinical experiences and provided student supervision for genetic counseling interns and family medicine residents. Connie has come full circle utilizing her strong clinical background, research experience and expertise in policy development and compliance to assist providers in making informed genetic testing decisions for their patients as part of the team at PreventionGenetics.

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Jenna ScottJenna Scott, MS, CGC, Co-Director Masters Program in Genetic Counselling, University of British Columbia

Jenna Scott has been Program Co-Director for the UBC Masters Program in Genetic Counselling (GCP) since 2012 with primary responsibility for curriculum development and the directed studies research projects. Jenna has been involved with the GCP since its inception in 1996 and has supervised over 50 genetic counselling students from Canadian and international programs in clinical rotations and/or directed studies research projects.

Professional contributions include ABGC Item Writer, ABGC Certification Exam Committee, CAGC Professional Governance Committee. Currently Jenna is a member of the ACGC Board of Directors and Chairs the Program Review Committee.

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Layla Shahmirzadi MowlaviLayla Shahmirzadi Mowlavi, MS, CGC, Clinical Product Development Manager, Ambry Genetics

Layla is a certified genetic counselor and serves as the Clinical Product Development Manager at Ambry Genetics where she supports the Research & Development team by managing the clinical strategy of upstream genetic test and product development. Layla has a strong interest and educational background in new technologies including next-generation sequencing with a particular interest in whole genome/whole exome sequencing. Prior to beginning her genetic counseling career, she also earned a second M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in Psychology from University of California, Davis. Layla joined Ambry in 2012 as a Reporting Genetic Counselor, Clinical Genomics after earning her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Stanford University School of Medicine. Since then she has had a number or roles at Ambry including Clinical Genomics Product Manager, and Marketing Manager.

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Caitlin SlompCaitlin Slomp, MSc, CGC, Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Caitlin Slomp is a research genetic counsellor and clinical instructor in the UBC Department of Psychiatry. She received her undergraduate degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of Alberta, followed by her Master of Science in Genetic Counselling from the University of British Columbia in 2016. She works with the Translational Psychiatric Genetics Group conducting several studies related to genetics, mental health, and genetic counselling outcomes. Current research areas include genetic, social and biological risk factors for postpartum depression in high risk women; perinatal, genetic and epigenetic factors related to children’s mental health and development; and the impact of genetic counselling for individuals with mental illness.

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  • Patient outcomes of genetic counselling: assessing the impact of different approaches to family history collection

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Hana SrokaHana Sroka, CGC, CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Gene Dx

Hana Sroka graduated from the UBC MSc Genetic Counselling Program in 2000 and holds certification with the CAGC and ABGC. After over 15 years at Mount Sinai Hospital´s Prenatal Diagnosis and Medical Genetics Program in Toronto, she joined GeneDx´s Clinical Genomics Program in 2016, which suits her varied clinical interests and her genomic curiosity.

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Samantha StasiukSamantha Stasiuk, MD, Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES)

Dr. Samantha Stasiuk is a second-year Clinical Educator Fellow at the Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES). Dr. Stasiuk graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Family Medicine Residency Program at the Victoria Site and works as a locum family physician with a special interest in Family Practice Obstetrics and youth health. She is enrolled in the Master of Health Professions Education program at Maastricht University. Dr. Stasiuk is involved in teaching with the Island Medical Program and with Family Practice residents.

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Sophie SunSophie Sun, University of British Columbia

Dr. Sun is a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. She received her master’s degree in Cancer Genetics at McGill University and completed her medical school training at the University of Toronto. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary internal medicine program and the University of British Columbia medical oncology program. She completed a fellowship in Translational Research in Thoracic Oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern, studying lung cancer in never smokers and novel targeted therapies. Dr. Sun is currently the provincial systemic chair for breast cancer and her clinical and research interests include cancer genetics, precision oncology, and clinical trials, with a focus on breast and thoracic malignancies.

Speaking in:

  • Cancer Gene Discovery: Germline and Tumor Sequencing

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Christopher TrevorsChristopher Trevors, MS, CGC, National Director, Genetic Health Solutions, Dynacare

Christopher Trevors, MS, CGC graduated with a B.Sc. (Honours) in Biology from Queen’s University and a master’s degree in Human Genetics (Genetic Counseling) from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. He worked at the Westchester Medical Center in Hawthorne, New York before starting at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto as a genetic counsellor. During his nine years at SickKids he was involved in clinical care before taking on a role as a clinical educator and evaluator in the areas of genetics, ethics and molecular/genomic technologies.

Christopher worked as Canadian General Manager of Centogene AG, a German molecular diagnostics company for 3 years before transitioning to help build a genetic diagnostics division at LifeLabs in Toronto as Director of Genetics and Genomics. Christopher is currently the National Director of Genetic Health Solutions at Dynacare and continues to lecture in the University of Toronto Genetic Counselling MSc program, the Medical Laboratory Technology Program at The Michener Institute and the George Brown Nursing Program.

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Rachel VannesteRachel Vanneste, MSc, CCGC, CGC, PreventionGenetics

Rachel Vanneste completed her Masters of Science in Genetic Counselling from McGill University in 2008. She obtained certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) in 2009. After working as a prenatal GC in Montreal for seven years, she returned home to Saskatoon to work for PreventionGenetics as their Canadian & Australasian account manager.

Rachel has volunteered with the CAGC for ten years and currently sits on the CAGC BOD as the association’s treasurer. She is a co-creator of www.lexigene.com and volunteers on the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, reviewing accreditation applications for new and existing GC programs in North America.

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Marina WhiteMarina White, Coast Salish Engagement Coordinator

Marina White is Coast Salish woman currently working for First Nations Health Authority as a Coast Salish Engagement Coordinator since July 28, 2014. Prior to this for 14 years Marina worked for First Nations House of Healing to provide healing opportunities for residential school survivors and their families; to address the legacy of trauma as a result of residential school trauma. Also, Marina worked as Aboriginal Liaison for School District #68 for 5 years. Each of the jobs were interwoven with each other. More importantly healing from Marina’s own residential school trauma has provided her with valuable tools and opportunity to connect with internal and external resources. A balance of western and cultural modality has taught Marina to value the strength and resilience to persevere and move forward. Marina attended Vancouver Island University to gain education for her passion of Social Work.

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  • Cultural Competency

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