Genetic Counselor Community,
I’d like to share an important message and ask for your help.
We are genetic counselors. We are united in a common purpose of empowering our patients and the communities we serve through education, empathy and advocacy. Our hope is that NSGC has stood for empowering genetic counselors - a collective purpose for the field - and through that, raising up the value that genetic counselors provide to patients and families across healthcare.
Yet, we recognize we are at a turning point in our journey as a profession, and we need your help to shape our path forward. We acknowledge that the NSGC voice has not always fully reflected members with underrepresented identities, or the amazingly diverse community we seek to serve, which grows more diverse every day.
We want to do better. We need to do better.
The NSGC Board of Directors has committed to cementing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as a pillar of our strategic plan. The name has now evolved to J.E.D.I., to capture the element of justice, which leads and underpins all the work. Justice helps create space for diversity, equity, and inclusion to live. In making this commitment, the Board and NSGC leader volunteers dedicated to J.E.D.I. considered: what is the best way to create lasting change?
As you can imagine, many important questions followed….
- How can we ensure that NSGC is an inclusive and welcoming organization for all of our members and those who wish to join us?
- Is NSGC operating with inclusive, just and equitable policies?
- How can our profession be more effective in our efforts to reach all patients, especially those in diverse and underrepresented communities?
- How can NSGC work with our partners, like genetics organizations and genetic counselor training programs, to attract underrepresented individuals to our field, and how do we promote diversity, equity and inclusion among our genetic counseling students?
- How can NSGC help set a sustainable path for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion across our organization… now and in the future?
These are important, fundamental questions, and we wanted an approach to answer these questions in a way that brings forward our own community’s voices and perspectives. We assigned a dedicated Task Force for this effort. With their recommendation, NSGC contracted with The Exeter Group, a consulting agency that specializes in health equity and organizational DEI initiatives. The Exeter Group performed a thorough assessment of NSGC and our community, to inform data-driven recommendations.
We are disseminating the Exeter Group’s full report to the NSGC membership, the genetic counseling community, and partner organizations. Now the question for all of us is, how are we - as a genetic counselor community - going to absorb the Exeter Group’s report and turn data into action?
We need YOUR voices. We need YOUR help in shaping our next steps.
The Exeter Group report is extensive – that’s because it’s comprehensive. It’s full of quantitative and qualitative data and subsequent recommendations. We acknowledge that the report may be triggering and uncomfortable to read and reflect upon. We hope you’ll be able to find time, energy, and space to make your way through this important document.
Then, I ask you to help us shape our path forward. Please visit www.nsgc.org/JEDI. You’ll see the following options to be part of our initiative:
First, you’ll see a link to The Exeter Group’s report findings, and a link to share your thoughts during our comment period. There’s so much to process in this report, and so many opportunities to provide perspectives. Think about this main question as you share feedback: What do you see as the most urgent priorities that turn The Exeter Group’s report into actionable and sustainable impact for NSGC? The Board and J.E.D.I. Committee will consider all of your comments and feedback as we work to create NSGC’s J.E.D.I. Action Plan with leaders throughout the organization.
Next, on our website, you’ll find a link to submit a video of why this initiative is important to you.
You’ll also find a link to submit a photo... we want to see you and hear your voices. We’re looking to create a new visual campaign that celebrates the beautiful, multifaceted, diverse mosaic of our community.
Please consider contributing your voice and presence to these efforts. Your help will shape our conversations, paths, and actions as we move forward.