Genetic counselors from every hospital genetics program in Utah volunteer for Test Wisely video production

Apr 24, 2021 | News

Over a Friday and Saturday in late April 2021, genetic counselors from every hospital genetics program across Utah volunteered their time to participate in a film shoot for clinician education videos that will be launched in late summer 2021 on the TestWisely.org website. Eleven genetic counselors and/or clinical scientists participated in the film shoot, with at least one genetic counselor from each of the major health systems in Utah: Intermountain Healthcare, MountainStar Healthcare, Huntsman Cancer Institute (University of Utah), and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). These volunteer genetic counselors worked with the scientists and genetic counselors at the Center for Genomic Interpretation and the Association for Utah Genetic Counselors to prepare scripts and visual aids for the videos. The topics covered in the film shoot included:

  • The inclusion of research genes on clinical genetic panels
  • The variation in capabilities between clinical labs for variant (mutation) detection
  • Different approaches between labs to genetic variant classification, reclassification and amended reporting
  • Trustworthiness of positive test results
  • Laboratory patient support services through both multilingual support and financial aid

While there are many topics of importance for clinicians to consider when selecting clinical genetic tests to use as diagnostic tools, these topics were prioritized as key characteristics for clinicians to understand when making test and laboratory selections for hereditary cancer diagnostics.

The videos and accompanying educational materials will be made freely available on TestWisely.org, a public education website designed to aid clinicians in selecting the most appropriate hereditary cancer genetic tests for their patients. TestWisely.org will standardize and make transparent important quality metrics between similar genetic tests and testing laboratories. This website is part of the “Quality Matters” project led by the Center for Genomic Interpretation in partnership with clinical counselors from the Association for Utah Genetic Counselors, which ultimately aims to improve the quality of care for patients. The project is supported in part by the Utah Cancer Genomics Program of the Utah Department of Health, with funding from the CDC.* 

The following genetic counselors and clinical scientists participated in the film shoot: Laila Andoni, Elise Austin, Emily Bonham, Dr. Julie Eggington, Brent Hafen, Erin Heckaman, Dr. Jessica Ponce Hidalgo, Ambreen Khan, McCall Larson, Dr. Benjamin Morris, and Sumathi I. Rachamadugu.

The Center for Genomic Interpretation, the Association for Utah Genetic Counselors, and the Utah Department of Health are grateful for the support and service provided by all the volunteers on this project, and are looking forward to the rollout of the much needed education materials at TestWisely.org.

*This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, DP19-1905, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.