The Code Talker Award was created as a way to pay tribute to a genetic counselor for the impact he or she has on a patient and family. Genetic counselors are specially trained professionals who help people cope with, understand, and respond to genetic conditions. They are on the frontline, standing alongside patients and their families as they try to make very difficult treatment decisions. They serve as translators, interpreting complicated medical information at critical moments in an understandable way. The Code Talker Award honors excellence in patient care among practitioners of this unique profession. This prestigious award is presented in concert with the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and serves as a way to distinguish those who provide exceptional and irreplaceable service.
Each year, nominations are accepted via essay submission from patients, caregivers, and peers. The awards committee selects three finalists based on the patient care provided and the impact of the genetic counselor on the patient and family. Finalist genetic counselors, the nominating essayists, plus one guest each, receive roundtrip airfare and a two-night stay at the NSGC Conference, where they are honored at a reception. The essays are read aloud, and one genetic counselor is named the Code Talker of the Year in recognition of his or her service to patients.