It was wonderful to see so many of you, in-person and virtually, at NSGC’s 42nd Annual Conference in Chicago. A good conference theme is catnip for me and I’m failing to resist this year’s… so, after weeks of sharpening our focus to prepare for the Annual Conference, it’s time to reflect on purpose.
Engagement in conversations and sessions about the past, present and future of our field was palpable. Collective energy grew to reimagine ways that we approach the science, our work and ability to achieve a sustainable future for genetic counseling and NSGC across sessions, questions, and debates. As NSGC President I had the privilege of sharing, from my lens, NSGC’s progress over the year during the State of the Society and Annual Business Meeting session. Meghan Carey (NSGC’s Executive Director) and Barry Tong (NSGC’s Secretary/Treasurer) joined me to provide important staff and financial updates.
Here, I’ll share takeaways of our presentation. To ensure the entire membership is updated, our full presentation along with President-Elect, Colleen Campbell's, Incoming Presidental Address can be viewed using this open-access link, which will be available on the NSGC website in the coming weeks. The recording and a complete list of resources mentioned in the presentation are now available in the Annual Conference virtual platform.
Did you know that the four pillars of NSGC’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan don’t operate in isolation? They are meant to intersect, as suggested in the diagram below. We are sharpening our focus by maximizing connections between these pillars to harness collaboration and power toward our efforts.
All of NSGC’s volunteer groups, such as Committees, Task Forces, SIGs, the Board of Directors, work across our Strategic Plan pillars to meet our goals. I talked about the three-year cycle of NSGC’s strategic planning, something I didn’t fully know about until I joined the Board. 2023 is year two of our three-year Strategic Plan, making this a connecting year before a new plan is developed in 2024. We’ve been evaluating progress, refining strategy to approach goals, and making advancements throughout the year towards those goals, internally and externally.
This is all set against rapid organizational growth and change. NSGC’s membership has increased 5% over last year – as of September 2023, we have 4,951 members! NSGC also saw a 48% increase in new genetic counselor members, likely related to a reduction in student membership dues to $50 in 2022 that helped new student members access memberships. Every June, student members are upgraded to new genetic counselors, so that can explain the 2023 growth in this category.
NSGC’s success is only possible with members and volunteerism. Over 20% of members volunteer with NSGC in some way – this is a very high level of member engagement for a professional association (psst… I’ve checked with other association leaders). This includes all NSGC groups, liaisons, speakers, those working on projects, and others. Thank you to all who can volunteer time and energy to NSGC. Don’t miss the “highlight reel” video for details about volunteer achievements; we simply couldn’t mention all of them during the presentation.
Our members and staff are also deeply engaged in NSGC’s Federal bill advocacy efforts. 440 organizations have signed a letter of support for our bill, the Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act. As of October 15, 272 genetic counselors have requested a meeting with their Congressional representatives, which is the highest number to date! As the chart below shows, increases in meeting requests tracks to major upticks in bill cosponsors – the legislative path to getting our bill passed. Thank you to all who support our Federal advocacy efforts, especially those getting involved for the first time.
*Meetings requested as of October 15, 2023
NSGC’s J.E.D.I. Action Plan advanced this year across 38 action items following its first formal assessment. We are in year two of our three-year Action Plan and the chart below shows that eight items are not started, 24 are complete and six are completed.
The J.E.D.I. Action Plan holds our organization accountable as we continue to sharpen our focus to serve the needs of our growing and diversifying membership. View the J.E.D.I. Action Plan Dashboard to stay updated; it will be updated every six months with each assessment (and one is occurring right now).
Our incredible members and staff partners work collaboratively across NSGC to move our Strategic Plan forward, which Meghan Carey and Barry Tong shared from their vantage points. There is still work to be done as we look to the future, as NSGC President-Elect Colleen Campbell discussed in her incoming presidential address. Our profession is growing and 10,000 certified genetic counselors (CGCs) are projected by 2030. NSGC must keep changing and evolving to maintain a sustainable organization that scales to meets the needs of our membership. As we enter a strategic planning year in 2024, our Board will also be working to evaluate and integrate ideas and goals that we’ve heard from you along the way.
Lastly, I’ll shout-out the wonderful team of volunteers and staff who made our second hybrid Annual Conference happen, such as the Annual Conference Planning Committee, Abstract Review Workgroup, and event planning team. Our conference is a massive undertaking that attracts an increasing number of attendees. It would not be possible without each of your contributions, and we thank you all.