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Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America

Overview

For sixty years genetic counselors have served as the messengers of important information about the risks, realities, and perceptions of genetic conditions. More than 2,500 certified genetic counselors in the United States work in clinics, community and teaching hospitals, public health departments, private biotech companies, and universities. Telling Genes considers the purpose of genetic counseling for twenty-first century families and society and places the field into its ...

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Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America

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Overview

For sixty years genetic counselors have served as the messengers of important information about the risks, realities, and perceptions of genetic conditions. More than 2,500 certified genetic counselors in the United States work in clinics, community and teaching hospitals, public health departments, private biotech companies, and universities. Telling Genes considers the purpose of genetic counseling for twenty-first century families and society and places the field into its historical context.

Genetic counselors educate physicians, scientific researchers, and prospective parents about the role of genetics in inherited disease. They are responsible for reliably translating test results and technical data for a diverse clientele, using scientific acumen and human empathy to help people make informed decisions about genomic medicine.

Alexandra Minna Stern traces the development of genetic counseling from the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century to the current era of human genomics. Drawing from archival records, patient files, and oral histories, Stern presents the fascinating story of the growth of genetic counseling practices, principles, and professionals.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
Any collection strong in genetic health will find this a winner.
Choice

This book is an example of the best that history of science has to offer. Well written and exhaustively referenced, the work should be required reading for all students and faculty interested in modern medicine.

Journal of American History - Garland E. Allen
A fascinating study of the development of the concept and practice of genetic counseling in the United States since the early years of the twentieth century... Telling Genes is a very important contribution to the history of medical genetics and its clinical applications in the twentieth century.
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences - Andrew J. Hogan
In this well written and important book, Stern addresses the history of genetic counseling, a profession that has undergone drastic changes during its short history, while still remaining under the ‘shadow of eugenics'.
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History - Leslie Baker
Stern has once again demonstrated her uncommon ability to present complex information in an accessible form.
Choice
This book is an example of the best that history of science has to offer. Well written and exhaustively referenced, the work should be required reading for all students and faculty interested in modern medicine.
NSGC Perspectives - Meredith Sanders
Genetic counselors likely all learn something about the history of our profession during graduate school. For those desiring to know more about our profession's origins and swift evolution, we now have Telling Genes... Telling Genes will appeal to more than just the history fanatics in our profession and is a perfect supplementary text for genetic counseling students.
Bulletin of the History of Medicine - Stephen Pemberton
A worthy standard by which other historical writing and claims about the field and practice of genetic counseling can be read.
LSF Magazine
Telling Genes is an informative read for anyone interested in learning about the historical origins and growth of genetic counseling, the profession's important contributions to American medical care, and the ethical dilemmas that it must confront in the future.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421406671
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Minna Stern is the Zina Pitcher Collegiate Professor in the History of Medicine, associate director of the Center for the History of Medicine, and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, history, and American culture at the University of Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 History: Genetic Counseling Develops 7

2 Genetic Risk: An Evolving Calculus 28

3 Race: Tense and Troubled Relations 53

4 Disability: The Dynamics of Difference 75

5 Women: Transforming Genetic Counseling 102

6 Ethics: Shades of Gray in Genetic Counseling 123

7 Prenatal Diagnosis: The Handmaiden of Contemporary Genetic Counseling 146

Conclusion 170

Appendixes

A Archival Materials Consulted 177

B Interviewees 179

C Master's Degree Genetic Counseling Programs in North America 182

Notes 185

Index 229

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