Today (4 November) is Genetic Counsellors Awareness Day and an opportunity worldwide to celebrate the profession and bring awareness to the value genetic counsellors bring.

This year, Victorian Clinical Genetics Services (VCGS) would like to present some of our very own genetic counsellors to answer common questions about the profession.

Professors Zornitza Stark, David Thorburn and John Christodoulou are among the 17 Australian researchers who led grants that received a share of $46.5 million for genomics research. The funding is part of the 2021 MRFF Genomics Health Futures Mission round, announced today by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. The projects aim to increase rare disease diagnoses and improve patient outcomes.

Rare Disease Now (RDNow) is a project funded by the RCH Foundation which aims to establish a pathway for children with a rare disease that remains undiagnosed, even after genomic testing. The project seeks to give these children the best chance of receiving a diagnosis and to access the latest clinical trials and treatments.

Direct to consumer (DTC) or DIY genetic tests are available for anyone to purchase, and their use is increasing. How accurate and useful are these DTC genetic tests and where can you find more information on these tests?

Victorian Clinical Genetic Services (VCGS) is pleased to announce an exciting collaboration with Twist Bioscience, a leading synthetic biology and genomics company, to develop a bespoke whole exome sequencing assay for VCGS. The assay will be used to identify the cause of health and developmental problems and will help clinicians make informed decisions about treatment and management plans for their patients.

Lauren Thomas recently completed her Masters of Genetic Counselling, a professionally accredited program required for entry into the field of genetic counselling. As part of her Masters course, Lauren investigated the views of parents of children with genetic conditions about which types of conditions they thought should be screened through reproductive genetic carrier screening. The paper presents the views of 150 parents, highlighting the considerations and complexities associated with deciding which conditions to include in carrier screening panels.