FORWARD. This is the theme of NSGC’s 40th Annual Conference, our first-ever hybrid conference with both virtual and in-person participation options, now less than two months away! The word “Forward” implies a journey with a common destination and goal. It indicates momentum, persistence, resilience and change. I couldn’t think of a more apt word to describe the genetic counseling profession at this moment.
Your Annual Conference Program Planning Committee Chair and Vice Chair, Barry Tong and Melanie Hardy, have worked tirelessly with the rest of the Committee to put together a conference experience that will be educational and immersive, whether you will be congregating in New Orleans or joining virtually from home. The sub-themes of the conference are both descriptive of the incredible content in the conference sessions and reflective of the broader experiences that unite our profession.
PROGRESS. As we assess where we are and what we need to do to incorporate greater justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) in the genetic counseling profession, our Annual Conference demonstrates the progress and change we are embracing by including elements of J.E.D.I. in all sessions, as well as including sessions that have a particular focus on J.E.D.I. Just a few of the topics that will be featured include gender-inclusive genetic counseling, advocacy for genetic counselors with disabilities and inclusive supervision strategies.
INNOVATE. The hybrid nature of this conference is innovation in itself; considerable resources, logistical planning and creativity were required to make this vision a reality. Interactive sessions will encourage and inspire you to innovate in your practice area with sessions exploring how we can broaden our counseling competencies with improv skills, bias recognition and elements of directiveness.
ADVANCE. As we advance strategic imperatives to foster growth and diversity in our profession, the conference brings the opportunity to advance your learning and practice with both specialty and generalist updates. Current and evidence-based content in oncology, reproductive health, neurogenetics, pharmacogenomics, research, rare disease and more will provide insights to help you practice at the very top of your scope.
I’ll add one final word which represents my own contemplation and hope for this conference: COMMUNITY. Through a year and a half of pain, fear and change, our genetic counseling community has come together via speaker and screen to raise our voices and listen to, collaborate with and learn from each other. We have demonstrated that gatherings are not limited by physical presence. As we enter a new reality of in-person hugs paired with virtual high-fives, we have the opportunity to make our community stronger and more inclusive.
In real life or avatar form, I can’t wait to see you in New Orleans!