Friday, April 23, 2010

A Vision for the Future

April 23 2010 - On this National DNA Day, the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) announces its new vision statement: “Integrating genetics and genomics to improve health for all”.

The NSGC’s former vision statement was “to be the leading voice, authority, and advocate for the genetic counseling profession.” As we reflect on this vision, it is clear that we have met these goals; no one would question that the NSGC is the voice of the genetic counseling profession. Vision statements should be enduring and aspirational to encourage an organization to achieve loftier and loftier goals. It is time for us to push ourselves once again; it is time for change.

In crafting a new vision statement, the Board wanted to reflect the expanding roles and future prominence of genetic counselors across healthcare, public policy, education, industry, and public health. The common role of the genetic counselor across all of these environments is that we integrate genetics and genomics in a practical, personalized, and cost-effective way. Our goal is simple: ultimately, we want to improve health – for patients, for doctors, for society.

National DNA Day commemorates the successful completion of the Human Genome Project , which promised to unlock the secrets of the genome. The world needs genetic counselors to fulfill this promise – to bridge the gap from the science to the day-to-day lives of the people intended to benefit. As reflected by our new vision statement, the NSGC will lead the way.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nominations, nominations, nominations

Any good realtor knows that the most important quality for a piece of real estate is location, location, location. Similarly, the most important contributor to the success of the NSGC’s governance is nominations, nominations, nominations!

I am the first NSGC President to be elected under the NSGC’s new governance model, wherein a slate of individuals is presented to the membership for ratification by a Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee is a group composed of both Board members and members-at-large. Anyone who is nominated (or self-nominated) will be considered by the committee through a rigorous evaluation process that includes a written application (remember those graduate school essays?) and a phone interview. The Committee proposes a slate of individuals selected for leadership skills and a balance of different points of view based on practice setting, specialty, and geographic region. The purpose, just like a job application, is to select individuals who have the qualities necessary to serve on an association Board; these qualities are difficult to assess through an election process that requires skimming a short bio about each candidate.

However, this process only works if members participate in the nominations process! If only the current NSGC leaders nominate people, the membership loses a critical opportunity to participate in the governance process. Again, all nominees will be evaluated using the same rigorous standards, and the Committee seriously considers the comments the nominator writes about the nominee.

Of course, the Membership Committee continues to evaluate the new governance model. I welcome your feedback about the governance model, and in the mean time, I strongly encourage you to nominate people with proven leadership skills. We can’t select the people you want to lead if you don’t nominate them. Visit this survey to submit your nomination: