Genetic Counseling Program

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Practice Patterns of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in North Carolina Regarding Screening and Testing for Aneuploidy.  By Lori Carpenter

Prenatal screening and diagnostic testing are ways of identifying fetuses at an increased risk for or who have a genetic condition. Recent recommendations published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in January of 2007 updated the previous guidelines, now supporting prenatal screening and diagnostic testing being offered to all pregnant women, regardless of age. In addition, a number of new screening options have become available in recent years. Now there are more screening tests available for patients and their providers. We undertook this study to identify the prenatal screening and diagnostic testing practices of obstetricians in North Carolina to evaluate if the new ACOG Practice Bulletins have resulted in changes in practice. 
A total of 1,033 surveys were sent to obstetrician-gynecologists currently licensed to practice in North Carolina by email (649) or standard mail (384). The overall response rate was 17.4%. The survey included questions about demographics, which testing options are offered, to whom the tests are offered, what indications warrant a referral for a genetics consult, and established policies. Results indicate that the majority (85.4%) of obstetrician-gynecologists are offering screening to women of all ages and 61% are offering diagnostic testing to women of all ages. However, a variety of screening and testing strategies were reported and described. This suggests that while the majority are following the recommended ACOG guidelines, there are significant differences between practices regarding which screening strategies are employed and to whom. Therefore, it may be beneficial to consider efforts directed towards consistency in the practice of prenatal screening in the state of North Carolina.

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "

  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."

  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”