February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of Black and African Americans’ accomplishments and a time for appreciating their critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring some of our Black and African American employees at Sema4. In the second Q&A of our series, Rachel Brunson, Manager of Inside Sales in Sema4’s Customer Excellence Department, explains why she celebrates Black history every day of the year and how Sema4’s mission resonates with her on a personal level.
- 1. What is your role at Sema4?
I was recently promoted to Manager of Inside Sales for the East Coast. My role involves working with field sales management on the execution of account and sales strategies. I lead an amazing team, which was responsible for pushing through Sema4’s saliva kit initiative to allow patients to collect their test samples at home. We also reach out to patients to help them send their kits back and coordinate mobile phlebotomy, again giving patients extra options for getting tested. Another aspect of my job is working closely with healthcare offices so that things can run seamlessly through our labs. Finally, I help to facilitate a positive customer experiences by coordinating across multiple Sema4 departments to implement best practices.
February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of Black and African Americans’ accomplishments and a time for appreciating their critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring some of our African American employees at Sema4. In our first Q&A, Nate White, National Sales Director for Oncology Solutions, discusses his role in leading Sema4’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and why Martin Luther King Jr. and his father are his role models.
- 1. What is your role at Sema4?
I am the Senior Director of National Sales for our Oncology Solutions division. I lead the Oncology sales team, which is comprised of professionals that focus on building our market share of germline (hereditary) cancer testing.
Sema4’s mission is to advance healthcare through data-driven insights. On the clinical side, our world-class research scientists, lab technicians, and genetic counselors work tirelessly to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases using aggregated multidimensional data. Our product engineering team’s role is to ensure that this complex data is presentable, understandable, and approachable for healthcare providers and their patients. The Sema4 engineering team has not only a keen interest in how providers and patients use our products but also a deep understanding of how a product works or should work as a complex system.
Outside of our passionate commitment to the quality of our work, we have strong camaraderie across our team. Our engineers continuously work to learn from each other and pass on their wisdom and knowledge. We believe that we can grasp complex ideas when we can teach them to others.
The Sema4 product engineering team intends to use this blog space to share what goes on behind the scenes to ensure that our applications meet the highest standards and adhere to the strictest compliance policies. We hope you will learn about the individuals and tools that propel our products, and our architecture discussions, research, software experiments, and lessons learned.
If you’re interested in joining the Sema4 product engineering team, please visit our careers page.
As we look ahead to 2021, Sema4 Chief Diagnostics Officer Lisa Edelmann and Sema4 Chief Commercial Officer Tom Neyarapally have provided several industry predictions for the New Year. Between them, Lisa and Tom share their perspectives on how COVID-19 will continue changing healthcare, the expanding value of whole genome and whole transcriptome sequencing in healthcare, and how remote healthcare and real-world data will support clinical trials and reduce the cost of drug development.
Read on to learn more about Lisa and Tom’s 2021 forecasts.
Later this week, it’s National Family Health History Day. Knowing your family history is the first step to understanding your risk for cancer. As Sema4’s offerings align to cancer prevention and management, we are marking National Family Health History Day by asking three of Sema4’s Certified Genetic Counselors to answer the following question: “Why does knowing your family health history matter?” Read on to get their insights.
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.
It is Genetic Counselor Awareness Day on November 12th. To mark the occasion, we are featuring a couple of our genetic counselors at Sema4. In our first Q&A, Jessica DiGiovanna, a Certified Genetic Counselor, discusses how she helps patients navigate their hereditary cancer genetic test results, what she finds most rewarding about being a genetic counselor, and more.
1. What is your role at Sema4?
As a tele-genetic counselor, I help patients understand their Sema4 Signal Hereditary Cancer test results and if they may have a genetic predisposition to certain types of cancers. If the patient has an increased risk for particular cancers, I provide them with medical management recommendations to help prevent these cancers or detect them at an earlier, more treatable stage. For patients who have an active cancer diagnosis, I help them understand if their genetic test results may influence their cancer treatment options. I also help patients understand the implications their genetic test results may have for their family members.
After entering into a strategic alliance earlier this year with Sema4, we have reached another milestone to accelerate precision oncology care. Our collaboration with Sema4 recently resulted in the launch of one of the most integrated artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled clinical decision support platforms, easing the adoption of appropriate next generation tumor sequencing ordering and targeted treatment in community oncology settings, where the majority of cancer patients are treated in the United States.
Sema4’s next generation sequencing (NGS) cancer test has now been directly integrated into the VieCure platform to streamline ordering and resulting for oncologists. The platform includes our guidance of treatment, prognosis, and clinical trial options regarding the patient’s unique tumor profile, and the discrete data that enables the VieCure AI engine to provide a personalized treatment plan and management considerations for community oncologists.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we were pleased to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer Reynolds, Founder and President of Pink Warrior Advocates, an organization dedicated to providing direct financial and emotional support to women undergoing treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis.
As a breast cancer survivor who later discovered she had a predisposed pathogenic variant, Jennifer discussed why genomic testing for hereditary cancer risk factors is critical to so many people’s health journey.
Why do you think that genomic testing for hereditary cancer matters?
Knowing that you have these hereditary cancer risk factors is powerful information. It allows you, as a patient, to move forward and take control of your health versus your health controlling you.
COVID-19 testing has been a hot topic since the outbreak of the viral pandemic. Phrases such as “nasal swabs” and “viral genetic material” have moved from clinical vocabulary into the mainstream consciousness, and new tests arrive on the market seemingly weekly. But what do you need to consider if your doctor, employer, or school asks you to get a COVID-19 test? How do you know whether it’s the right type of test? Or, if you can trust the result?
Lab-based PCR Tests
The most common type of COVID-19 test, and the one described as the “gold standard” for its ability to detect even tiny amounts of virus accurately, is called a PCR (or polymerase chain reaction) test. With this test, a swab is taken from the nasal passage or throat by a medical professional. Some versions of the test are approved for use in asymptomatic individuals, while others are intended only for those displaying symptoms.