This Week Health

June 10, 2020: We’ve all heard of direct to consumer genetic testing kits, from the like of 23andMe or ancestry.com, but how useful can certified genetic testing be? And how can genetic counselors assist you through that process? Today’s guest is Ellen Matloff, Founder and CEO of My Gene Counsel. Ellen am a certified genetic counselor, and My Gene Counsel is a company that specializes in scalable, updated, digital genetic counseling. My Gene Counsel’s mission is to make genetic test results easy to understand and use by both consumers and clinicians, and to provide ongoing updates tied to these results. In this episode, Ellen explains what genetic counseling is and why she formed My Gene Counsel. She shares with us the possibilities for genetics to advance healthcare and medicine, as well as the role that genetics may be playing in susceptibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss direct to consumer versus certified genetic testing, and the pros and cons of both, as well as the ethical issues around privacy. Ellen also describes her path towards becoming a CEO, which is a new element we’re adding to the show. Tune in today to find out more about genetic counseling!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Ellen explains what genetic counseling is.
  • How a genetic counselor can assist you with genetic testing.
  • Why Ellen formed My Gene Counsel and what the company does.
  • Ellen explains the shortage of genetic counselors in the US.
  • The possibilities for genetics to advance healthcare and medicine within the next decade.
  • The role that genetics may be playing in susceptibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Geisinger as a leader in the field, using genetics on healthy people to predict illness.
  • Ellen talks about direct to consumer genetic testing and why it’s better to get certified testing.
  • Population screening for cancer by programs like All of Us (NIH).
  • The ethical issues with genetic privacy and why it’s important.
  • The pros and cons of direct to consumer genetic testing kits – not all data is helpful.
  • Ellen describes her path to becoming a CEO!

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