Happy Genetic Counselor Awareness Day! In the second part of our feature to mark the day, we chat with Mitchell Dillon, a Certified Genetic Counselor and Sema4’s Co-Director of Laboratory Genetic Counseling. Read on to find out what motivates Mitchell, what Genetic Counselor Awareness Day means to him, and more. Also click here if you want to read our other Genetic Counselor Awareness Day Q&A.
1. What is your role at Sema4?
As co-director of the genetic counseling services at Sema4, I oversee daily operations for a growing team of 40+ genetic counselors (GCs), genetic counseling assistants (GCAs), and genetic counseling interns. I also provide decision-making workflow and counseling guidance for our expanded carrier screening (ECS), non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS), and oncology offerings.
2. What motivates you to work at Sema4?
The field of genetics is constantly evolving; Sema4 is evolving alongside and advancing the field. It’s so great to be part of a cutting-edge company that puts patients first.
3. What does Genetic Counselor Awareness Day mean to you?
Genetic Counselor Awareness day holds dual meanings for me. First, it raises awareness and interest about our profession within our communities and among patients who may benefit from our services. Second, it raises awareness within medical institutions about the valuable skills GCs can offer not only through conventional counseling methods and improved patient outcomes, but also by ensuring patients remain the keystone in the emerging technologies and tools needed to meet the growing demand for GCs.
4. What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is leading a stellar team of GCs and GCAs who make big impacts on patients’ lives daily by helping them navigate the complex world of genetics and genomics as these fields become part of routine medical care.
5. What advice would you give to other people who want to get into this profession?
My advice to anyone who wants to become a GC is to network with current GCs, participate in genetic counseling seminars offered by various organizations, and seek GCA positions where you can get your feet wet before diving into the application process. Genetic health can impact anyone regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, culture, language, and religion. As such, representation in our profession is a major initiative by the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), and I would encourage others to learn about their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within our field.