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TAGC Updates

Barcelona 2016

TAGC Barcelona met May 19-20 preceding the European Society of Human Genetics Meeting. Over 75 colleagues from 20 countries connected to explore genetic counselor education, certification and workforce issues throughout the world. Breakout sessions on teaching genomics, clinical supervision training, and online learning techniques engaged the group and a poster session and hosted dinner event promoted the international exchange. Hosted by the University of Pompeu Fabra, the genetic counseling students of Spain assisted the international genetic counselors throughout the meeting.

A closed meeting of the International Committee on Genetic Counselor Credentialing was hosted by the Genetic Counselor and Nurse Division of the European Board of Medical Genetics with representatives of certification boards from Australia, Canada, France, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. Representatives from each board will continue dialogue with the intention of a third meeting in the next 2-3 years.

Individuals and Genetic Counselor Education Programs who wish to participate in TAGC were asked to submit the 2016 network registration fee.

Transnational Alliance for Genetic Counseling (TAGC)
Fourth International Meeting & Tenth Anniversary
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Barcelona, Spain
May 19 -20th, 2016

Thursday 19 May - The Global state of Genetic Counseling

10:00 Welcomes and Introductions
Janice Edwards, President

Meeting chairs:
Kelly Ormond (USA) 
Clara Serra-Juhé (Spain) 
Tina Marie Wessels (South Africa)

10:00-12:00 Current international state of the profession, workforce and training status

Tina-Marié Wessels (South Africa) 
Lian-Hua Huang (Taiwan)

Australia           Kristine Barlow-Stewart, Sydney Medical School
Canada             Jennifer Fitzpatrick McGill University
France              Emeline Davoine, Oscar Lambret Cancer Centre, Lille
Philippines      Mercy Laurino, University of Manila
South Africa    Shelley Macaulay, University of the Witwatersrand
Spain                Clara Serra-Juhé of University Pompeu Fabra
Taiwan              Lian-Hua Huang, School of Nursing, National Taiwan University
UK                     Diana Scotcher, Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine
USA                   Cathy Wicklund, Northwestern University

13:00-15:00 The state of credentialing and plans for reciprocity across the globe

Anna Middleton (UK) 
Milena Paneque (Portugal)

 Australia         Ivan Macciocca, Board of Censors for Genetic Counselling
Canada            Kate Gardiner, Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors
Europe             Debby Lambert, European Board of Medical Genetics
South Africa    Tina Wessels, Health Professions Council of South Africa
UK                     Diana Scotcher, Genetic Counsellor Registration Board
USA                   Karen Potter Powell, American Board of Genetic Counseling

15:30-17:00 -- Open discussion about global workforce issues
Moderator: Barbara Biesecker (USA)

17:00 - Poster session

Friday 20 May -- Global trends in genetic counselor education

10:45-12:15pm Workshops

(1) Teaching technology and genomics in a rapidly changing environment
During this session we will discuss the current efforts in the UK to educate genetic counselors and other medial professionals around genomics, and efforts in the US and Australia that focus on introducing genetic counselors to genomics concepts such as variant interpretation as part of the curriculum. We will facilitate a discussion about what concepts are seen as core to genetic counselor training and continuing education, as well as how various countries balance the rapidly changing pace of technology with other core genetic counselor competencies.

Kelly Ormond (USA) 
Kristine Barlow-Stewart (Australia) 
Anna Middleton (UK)

(2) Online teaching methods
During this session we will be discussing how online teaching can be utilized in genetic counseling training. The format will be formal presentations followed by group discussions:

Kunal Sanghavi (Skype) (US/India) 
Tina-Marié Wessels (South Africa) 
Alexandra Obregon Tito (USA) 
Sonia Margarit (Chile)

(3) Supervision in Genetic Counseling Training
This discussion-based, interactive workshop will focus on various aspects of clinical supervision. Topics for both novice and experienced supervisors will be addressed, including nuts and bolts of establishing a clinical rotation, styles of supervision, strategies for working with students at different developmental stages, and handling challenging situations.

Jennifer Fitzpatrick (Canada) 
Andrea Hanson-Kahn (USA)

(4) Facilitating family communication about genetic risk-development of novel interventions
Review the current state of interventions in promoting family communication. Small group exercises will assist participants develop techniques to support family communication. The session will conclude with facilitated discussion of the benefits and the challenges of introducing family communication techniques into genetic counseling curricula, with reference to cultural implications.

Louisa Di Pietro (Australia) 
Allison Metcalfe (UK) 
Margaret Sahhar (Australia) 
Diana Scotcher (UK)

13:15-14:00 Open discussion regarding international trends in genetic counseling education

TAGC Barcelona 2016 Planning Committee

Executive Planning Committee
Kelly Ormond (United States) Co-Chair
Tina Wessels (South Africa) Co-Chair
Clara Serra (Spain) Local Host
Jennifer Fitzpatrick (Canada) TAGC 2011 Chair
Margaret Sahhar (Australia)
Anna Middleton (United Kingdom)
Lian Hua Huang (Taiwan)

Additional Planning Committee Members
Hyon Kim (South Korea)
Domenico Coviello (Italy)
Chantelle Scott (South Africa)
Kunal Sanghavi (originally from India, lives in US)
Peter James Abad (Philipines)
Sadiye Birep Aygun (Turkey)
Niby J Elackatt (India)
Andrea (Kwan) Hanson-Kahn (United States)
Emeline Davoine (France)
Alexandra Obregon-tito ‎(originally from Peru, lives in Belgium)


The International Committee on Genetic Counselor Credentialing began its work in Montreal, 2011, with TAGC Co-Facilitators Janice G. Edwards, MS CGC (US) and Anna Middleton, PhD, MSc, RGC (UK).  The initial charge of this committee was to create direct dialogue to:

1. Understand commonalities and differences in established credentialing processes

2. Create web accessible information on credentialing linked to each organization's website

3. Learn from the experience of organizations that have developed processes for recognizing credentials of foreign trained genetics counselors

4. Explore the possibility of certification reciprocity between countries

5. Assist countries developing credentialing through accessibility of information

Representatives of Genetic Counselor Credentialing Organizations:
American Board of Genetic Counseling: Cecelia Bellcross
Human Genetics Society of Australasia Board of Censors for Genetic Counseling: Alison McEwan (Margaret Sahhar)
Canadian Association of Genetic Counselors Certification Board: Melanie Care
Genetic Counselor Registration Board (UK): Barbara Stayner
Health Professions Council of South Africa: Mardelle Schoeman (Tina Marie Wessels)
Japanese Board of Genetic Counselors: Hiroshi Kawame

The committee also hosted a public workshop discussion at the 2011 International Congress on Human Genetics “International Genetic Counselor Credentialing: Finding the Common Ground” in October 2011.


1. November 5, 2010, TAGC was accepted as Corresponding Member of the International Federation of Human Genetic Societies

2. Board of Directors Annual Meeting held in Gothenburg, Sweden June 12, 2010, affirmed the following plan

    a. Reappointed three year terms (2010-2013) for the following members:

  • Australia: Margaret Sahhar
  • France: Marie Antoinette Voelckel
  • Japan: Yoshi Fukushima
  • Saudi Arabia: Moeen Al Sayed
  • Taiwan: Lian Huan Huang

     b.  Biannual Fee Approved

  • Program fee of $100 for two-year participation of any faculty associated with genetic counselor education program in high income economy 
  • Individual fee of $50 for two-year participation in high income economy
  • All other economies (as defined by the World Bank) to have reduced fee for two-year participation; $50 program and $25 individual
  • Graduate students in genetic counseling: no participation fee
  • Conference registration fees will be separate from biannual fee and will be paid by all registrants to cover cost of conference

      c. TAGC to host meeting of representatives of organization that credential genetic counselors to facilitate international exchange around recognition of credentials.

     d. TAGC Montreal 2011 to be hosted by McGill University Genetic Counseling Program October 2011 preceding the international Congress on Human Genetics.  Planning Committee initiated.

     e. TAGC Abstracts collection ongoing.  More than 400 abstracts are in the searchable database.

1. TAGC Board of Directors initiated planning for 2010-2011

  • June 2010 Gothenburg Sweden Board of Directors Meeting propr to ESHG/EMPAG
  • TAGC Montreal 2011 Conference, hosted by McGill University Genetic Counseling Program, to be help prior to the International Congress on Human Genetics October 2011

2. TAGC achieved 501c3 non-profit status with the United States Internal Revenue Service

3. TAGC Board of Directors Wiki created for written communication; login and password required

4. TAGC Partners Listserv updated

5. TAGC Abstracts collection ongoing

  1. Transnational Alliance for Genetic Counseling was officially incorporated July 2, 2008 in South Carolina, United States with the assistance of attorneys from the McNair Law Firm, Columbia, SC.
  2. June 3, 2008 Standing Committee of TAGC met for the first time at European Society of Human Genetics meeting.  Initial TAGC bylaws adopted.
  3. June 3-4 2008 TAGC Barcelona hosted at University of Pompeu Fabra.  Over fifty participants from seventeen countries represented.  Workshops focused on collaborative exchanges of educational materials, international student rotations, and future directions for the TAGC.
  4. TAGC purchased a subscription to RefWorks, a searchable database for master of science thesis abstracts, with the intention of promoting collaborations among genetic counseling programs internationally.  Program directors submitted master of science thesis abstracts from 2007 and 2008.
  1. The second meeting of the TAGC was scheduled for June 4, 2008 with the assistance of Domenico Coviello and Miguel Del Campo, a satellite conference of ESHG/EMPAG  May 31-June 3.
  2. Janice Edwards met with the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies in October in San Diego to alert the group to the creation of the TAGC. The IFHGS invited TAGC to consider joining the Federation in the future.
  3. A plenary session at the American Society of Human Genetics included an introduction to the TAGC in the talk entitled, "Global Momentum in Genetic Counseling Education" given by Janice Edwards. Several TAGC Partners from Manchester 2006 were in attendance, and several inquiries were received following the presentation.

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