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September 30, 2016

Genetic Counselors Recognized by Patients, Peers for Excellence in Patient Care

-- Finalists and winner for Genome magazine’s Code Talker Award announced and honored at the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference --

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- At the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference in Seattle, Allison Goetsch, MS, CGC, genetic counselor at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago was announced as the winner of the inaugural Code Talker Award. The Code Talker Award, sponsored by Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA), was established by Genome magazine to recognize the impact genetic counselors have on the health and lives of patients.

Also honored at NSGC were Amie Blanco, MS, LCGC, genetic counselor and acting director at the UCSF Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program, part of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, and Anna Victorine, MS, CGC, genetic counselor at Provenance Healthcare in Las Vegas, who were both named as finalists. Chosen from scores of nomination essays submitted by patients and clinicians around the country, the winner and two finalists all illustrate the impact genetic counselors make in navigating the complexities of genomic medicine.

  • Allison Goetsch was nominated by her patient, Melissa Bruebach, who spent her life under the cloud of a genetic condition that somehow could never be properly diagnosed. As Melissa was giving up all hope of receiving answers, Allison became a driving force for getting Melissa a diagnosis.
  • Amie Blanco was nominated by her patient, Selena Martinez, for her dedication in helping Selena and her family understand the genetic connections among a cluster of cancers in their family.
  • Anna Victorine was nominated by her patient, Brooke Johns, who experienced the tragedy and heartbreak of a pregnancy marked by serious abnormalities. Anna supported Brooke throughout the ordeal, understanding the medical and emotional implications that genetic testing can produce.

“Patients with certain genetic conditions face many daunting challenges when trying to uncover the underlying causes of their diseases,” said Susan McClure, publisher of Genome. “We established this award to honor the work of these finalists and all genetic counselors—they serve as translators, interpreting complicated medical information in an understandable way at critical moments for patients.”

The Code Talker Award was presented on Thursday at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC).

“In some circumstances, genetic information can be hard to understand and using it to make informed health decisions is not always simple or straightforward. The advice of genetic counselors who can help interpret results and provide support to patients and their families can be invaluable when navigating the journey through diagnosis and treatment of hereditary disease,” said Kate Lynch, MS, LCGC, genetic counselor at Invitae. “Invitae is grateful to be able to support this program and recognize the important contributions of genetic counselors to patient care.”

In addition to honoring the three finalists, Genome unveiled a book with a collection of essays at the NSGC annual meeting. The Code Talker book presents stories that vividly illustrate the expertise and empathy genetic counselors provide to patients grappling with health decisions influenced by genetics. The book is available at the conference and by contacting Invitae.

“Genetic counselors provide personalized care to patients by interpreting genetic information to help them make informed health decisions. With genetics making important contributions to so many diseases, access to trained genetic counselors is essential,” said Jehannine Austin, MSc, PhD, CCGC, CGC, NSGC President. “We are pleased to see our members honored for their commitment to patients and hope their exemplary work continues to shine a light on the important role genetic counseling plays in healthcare.”

About the Code Talker Award

The Code Talker Award was inspired by the American Indian code talkers who served during World Wars I and II. These brave individuals communicated vital and often life-saving messages in their native languages, or special codes based on those languages, to the battle lines. Their legacy of leveraging knowledge to decode essential information inspired the essay contest and award. Genome invited patients, families, and clinicians to submit an essay describing the compassion, expertise, and helpfulness a genetic counselor demonstrated and the resulting impact that the care had on a patient or his or her family. Essays were reviewed and judged by the magazine’s editorial team. Finalists, the essayists, and their guests receive round-trip airfare and a two-night stay in Seattle, where they will be honored at an awards ceremony at the conference.

For more information about Genome’s Code Talker Award, visit

About Genome magazine

Genome is a national consumer magazine (300,000+ circulation) that explores the complexity of genomics and personalized medicine along with the associated ethical, social, and legal issues — in a relevant and easy-to-understand manner for a lay audience. Its quarterly publication is for the public at large: patients, family, caregivers, and healthcare professionals on the education frontlines. Genome’s mission is to empower readers to make informed health decisions that will help them live better and longer. For more information visit

About the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC)

NSGC is the leading voice, authority, and advocate for the genetic counseling profession, representing more than 3,000 healthcare professionals. The organization is committed to ensuring that the public has access to genetic services. For more information visit

About Invitae

Invitae Corporation's (NYSE: NVTA) mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medical practice to improve the quality of healthcare for billions of people. Invitae’s goal is to aggregate most of the world’s genetic tests into a single service with higher quality, faster turnaround time, and lower price than many single-gene and panel tests today. The company currently provides a diagnostic service comprising hundreds of genes for a variety of genetic disorders associated with oncology, cardiology, neurology, pediatrics, and other rare disease areas. For more information, visit our website at

NOTE: Invitae and the Invitae logo are trademarks of Invitae Corporation. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

Source: Invitae Corporation

Invitae Corporation

Laura D’Angelo, 314-920-0617

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