Exploring Genetic Counseling Licensure in North Carolina: Current Attitudes and Pursuits of Licensure Both Nationally and Locally By Michelle Burch
Capstone Project Committee: Ofri Leitner, MS, CGC (UNC-CH), Chair; Nancy Callanan, MS, CGC (UNCG); Catherine Fine, MS CGC (UNC-CH); Adam Buchanan, MPH, MS, CGC (Duke); Rachel Mills, MS, CGC (Duke) and Scott Richter, PhD (UNCG), Statistical Consultant
The field of genetic counseling is currently gaining licensure in a state-by-state manner and there is limited reported information on the progress of these efforts. The present study examined two different aspects of genetic counseling licensure using two separate surveys: 1) Nationwide experiences of genetic counselors actively pursuing licensure and 2) Attitudes regarding licensure of genetic counselors in North Carolina. The nationwide survey assessed personal and state’s experiences of those genetic counselors actively involved in licensure efforts. In addition to positive outcomes of licensure, results revealed obstacles in gaining support for licensure and detailed suggestions to make a licensure pursuit more successful. The North Carolina genetic counselors and medical geneticists were also surveyed to assess this specific state’s interest in pursuing licensure. In North Carolina, the majority of participants are supportive of licensure efforts and shared opinions regarding licensure eligibility, education requirements, and temporary licenses. Thoughts were; however, more varied regarding supervision of fully-licensed genetic counselors and ordering of genetic tests. Since licensure is being actively pursued in many states, this study provides practical guidance regarding these efforts and will be useful to all states, including North Carolina, who wish to continue or begin the pursuit of licensure. This study has also shown significant support and interest concerning genetic counselor licensure specifically in the state of North Carolina and responses from this state revealed areas for further discussion. Further studies are necessary to assess attitudes of other stakeholders in North Carolina, as this has not been previously examined.