Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America

Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America

by Alexandra Minna Stern

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421406671
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2012
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alexandra Minna Stern is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Culture, History, and Women's Studies, and a core faculty member in the Science, Technology, and Society Program at the University of Michigan. 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. History: Genetic Counseling Develops
2. Genetic Risk: An Evolving Calculus
3. Race: Tense and Troubled Relations
4. Disability: The Dynamics of Difference
5. Women: Transforming Genetic Counseling
6. Ethics: Shades of Gray in Genetic Counseling
7. Prenatal Diagnosis: The Handmaiden of Contemporary Genetic Counseling
Conclusion
Appendixes
A. Archival Materials Consulted
B. Interviewees
C. Master's Degree Genetic Counseling Programs in North America
Notes
Index

What People are Saying About This

"Alexandra Stern has written a rich and thorough history of the development of genetic counseling as a profession. It will be widely received as a definitive work that captures and explains some of the inherent tensions in the role of the genetic counselor, with a critical but engagingly sympathetic analysis."

Alice Wexler

"Stern's beautifully nuanced analysis illuminates the legacies and challenges of a profession on the front lines of genomic medicine. This groundbreaking book respects the voices of practitioners, clients, and critics alike and is essential reading for anyone with a problematic genetic inheritance—which is all of us."

Paul A. Lombardo

"The best and most complete exploration of the history of genetic counseling to date. Stern’s masterful account includes a lucid analysis of incendiary debates involving race, disability, and abortion that have surrounded the field of genetic counseling and deftly navigates the troubled historical waters between genetics and eugenics."

Troy Duster

"Alexandra Stern has written a rich and thorough history of the development of genetic counseling as a profession. It will be widely received as a definitive work that captures and explains some of the inherent tensions in the role of the genetic counselor, with a critical but engagingly sympathetic analysis."

Customer Reviews