Congrats to the 2019 winners

NSGC and Invitae have named the genetic counselor of the year and two finalists.

2019 Finalists

Identifying the top three was incredibly difficult, but the following genetic counselors stood out. Click on the name of the winner and each finalist below to read the amazing essay nominating them for the Code Talker Award.

2019 Winner

Gayun Chan-Smutko MS, CGC

MGH Institute of Health Professions

“I am alive today because of her. My family is thriving today because of her. And, because of her, our future is brighter than we could have ever imagined.”
—Liza Talusan, PhD

2019 Finalist

Lauren Hogan MS, CGC

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

“Hearing I could continue to contact her made me feel I was not alone in the challenges I faced. I felt an unparalleled release.”
—Caroline Stanclift

2019 Finalist

Elizabeth Varga MS, LGC

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

“If I have a go-to person, it’s Liz—hands down. You can tell she has a passion for what she does. She strives and thrives to learn more about what her patients (and families) are dealing with.”
—Joy Anderson, LSW

What is the Code Talker Award?

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.