Over the past few years of seeing patients virtually for genetic counseling, I have had quite a few people mention that they couldn’t find any genetic counselors near where they lived. After searching the internet, they finally found a genetic counselor in telemedicine, like our company, Advanced Tele-Genetic Counseling. I decided to search the internet myself to see what comes up when I enter “genetic counselor near me”. A few ads pop up first from genetic companies, followed by a few websites of clinics nearby where I live that offer prenatal genetic counseling. Fortunately, I live in a city that does have access to a few genetic counselors. However, if I lived in a rural area, or in a city that does not have genetic counselors, or I didn’t feel a connection with the genetic counselor available to me, how could I get in contact with one? I have a few suggestions that I would recommend to people who are trying to find a genetic counselor:
Talk to your Doctor: If you do live in a rural area (or even sometimes a big city), chances are your doctor may have not sent any of their patients to a genetic counselor. However, as genetic counseling becomes more common, doctors are recognizing the need for genetic counseling and referring their patients more often. Doctors also have additional healthcare networking information that you may not have access to. Speak with your doctor first to see if they can help you find a genetic counselor.
Search the Internet: Sometimes it’s frustrating to try and navigate all the information that pops up after an internet search, but often genetic counselors are listed on their hospital’s website or other healthcare directories. It’s worth attempting an internet search to see if a genetic counselor’s information pops up that happens to be near you.
Navigate the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Website: The majority of genetic counselors in the United States and Canada, including virtual genetic counselors, are members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Their website has a directory for patients to try and find genetic counselors in their area.
Take a Look at the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center Online Through the National Institute of Health: This website is great for not only trying to find genetic specialists near you, but also a wealth of additional information, such as support groups for patients and families with genetic conditions, research and clinical trial information, and even tips for finding financial aid and help with medical care costs. If you or your family member have a diagnosis of a genetic condition or suspected genetic condition, I would recommend taking a look at this website, in addition to those trying to find a genetic counselor.
Browse the Website of Your Suspected or Diagnosed Genetic Condition Organization: There are many established organizations for hundreds of different genetic conditions with great websites to help patients and their families go through the process of genetic testing and diagnosis. They also will often provide help in finding access to genetic specialists.
Talk to Family and Friends: More of us than we think have talked to someone like a genetic counselor. While you may want to keep your information private, if you are open to sharing and discussing with your family and friends, they may have helpful information or know of a genetic counselor.
You can also contact Advanced Tele-Genetic Counseling! We see patients virtually in any state in the United States, for almost any genetic condition or health condition if it is recommended to see genetic counseling. Please contact us if you need access to a genetic counselor and we can provide one for you!
Finding a genetic counselor can be a frustrating process, especially if all of the information regarding genetics and health is new to you, and you are unsure of what a genetic counselor does. The goal is to provide access to genetic counselors for anyone who desires genetic counseling, but we are still far from accomplishing that goal. We hope that as a telemedicine company who offers virtual genetic counseling services, we can fill gaps in access to genetic counseling services so that people can get the healthcare they deserve.