Genetic Counseling Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Brandeis’ Genetic Counseling Program celebrated its 20th anniversary on Oct. 26th with over 140 attendees including alums, program faculty (past and present) and current students. Judith Tsipis, who founded the program and has been its director since its inception, credits the idea of the genetic counseling program to Eve Marder. “I was having lunch in the Stein with Eve and Kalpana White,” she remembers, “when Eve mentioned an editorial she had read about genetic counseling written by Nancy Wexler [then president of the Hereditary Disease Foundation].” Marder then remarked that there weren’t enough genetic counselors and suggested that Tsipis look into it. That conversation quickly led to the creation of the program, the first genetic counseling program in New England. The program opened its doors to seven students in the fall of 1992 and now has over 160 alums who practice all across the US as well as in England, Norway, Israel and Germany. The party was held in the program’s new “home” in Gerstenzang and included dinner as well as several toasts to Tsipis for her leadership, passion, mentorship and commitment to the genetic counseling profession. Tsipis refers to the program as “her crazy dream — a dream inspired by her experiences with her son Andreas who had Canavan disease”, and she hopes that the many genetic counselors trained at Brandeis can help other families such as hers .

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