Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Beginning

Hello Everyone! I am excited to begin my term as President of NSGC for 2011. I want to start with a big thank you to Liz Kearney whose term as President just came to an end. Liz is an exceptionally dedicated, thoughtful, and inspiring leader. She accomplished so much during her presidency and I sincerely thank Liz for her leadership and mentorship. NSGC has benefited greatly from her talents.

Looking back on the accomplishments and initiatives we started in 2010 helps direct us in looking forward to 2011. Together, we have done so much…but there is still much to do! We have a new vision to strive to meet and a solid mission and strategic plan to guide us. Below are some highlights of the activity currently taking place:

As I mentioned in my blog in November, we have a new SIG plan to enhance utilization of the unique abilities and resources that exist in SIGs. We already have one new SIG beginning in 2011 (the Health Information and Technology SIG) and several SIGs examining their mission and assessing member needs to better direct their educational efforts and 2011 activity.

In February, our Board of Directors will convene in Chicago to conduct a long term strategic planning session. The purpose of this meeting is to develop a long term strategic plan for NSGC. A long term plan is necessary to ensure we are proactive in meeting the diverse needs of our members, those of our target audience of physicians and healthcare providers, and our patient population. We are seeking input from stakeholders in genetics, healthcare and industry to help inform our discussion. During the session we will examine challenging questions such as: “What are the important issues facing the genetic counseling profession in the next several years?” and ”What should NSGC become to help genetic counselors prepare for this future?” This promises to be a thought-provoking and lively discussion as we consider the needs of our members in relation to the future of genetics in healthcare.

The Collaborative Genetic Services Summit is in development with the important goal of establishing a collaborative model for genetics specialists, healthcare providers, and other key stakeholders to integrate genetics and genomics into healthcare. Past President Angie Trepanier is leading this multidisciplinary effort, bringing together key stakeholders in ensuring patients have access to quality genetic and genomic services. You will hear more about this exciting project in the near future.

Additionally, as you are no doubt aware, the political climate in our country has changed. We are working within this new climate and are actively engaged in discussions with potential sponsors for our federal bill to recognize genetic counselors as covered providers by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). We are also working with regional and national payers to communicate the benefit of covering the services provided by genetic counselors and of course, continuing our support of licensure efforts as they continue in many states.
So what else do I see in store for us this year? I see us rising to meet the challenges presented by the incorporation of genomic medicine into healthcare. Many of these challenges we are anticipating and are prepared to meet, others may be surprises. We have an excited and engaged Board of Directors who is thoughtful and thorough in their approach to thinking through issues. And, we have a dedicated and talented membership to help meet these challenges. A wonderful new year is off to a great start, and it promises to be very busy. We have much to do this year and are looking forward to working with all of you!