Talking to Patients about Genetic Testing and the Potential Psychosocial Implications of that Discussion with Karen Hurley, PhD

  • Dr. Hurley will provide an overview of psychosocial challenges faced by patients deciding to undergo genetic testing.  Her presentation will combine research findings from psychosocial research and case illustrations from twenty years of providing psychotherapy to genetic counseling patients.  She will provide tips on communication strategies as well as common pitfalls to avoid, and discuss advantages of creating an “information plan” based on patients’ needs, preferences, and ability to absorb emotionally challenging information. Clinical examples will be drawn from Dr. Hurley’s specialty in hereditary cancer risk, with discussion of how psychosocial issues in genetic testing are relevant across a broad range of conditions, from the prenatal setting to other pediatric- and adult-onset hereditary syndromes.


Karen E. Hurley, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, specializing in hereditary cancer risk. She received her A.B. in psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 1983, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Temple University in 1998.   She has provided psychotherapy and consultation to over 500 individuals, couples, and families with BRCA1/2 mutations, Lynch syndrome, FAP, CDH1 mutations and other forms of hereditary cancer.  Dr. Hurley has given numerous presentations to genetic counselors, physicians, nurses, and other health care providers on addressing psychosocial issues in genetic testing discussions, including CE webinars for NSGC, and talks at the NSGC annual conference, the International HBOC Symposium in Montreal, City of Hope, Sarah Lawrence College, Arcadia University, and state GC association meetings.  She is a member of several national advisory boards, including FORCE, Bright Pink, Sharsheret, and the Cancer Support Community’s Breast and Gastric Cancer Registries. In 2014 she received a Spirit of Empowerment-Individual Commitment award at the 8th Annual FORCE conference, in recognition of her work on behalf of the hereditary cancer community. 


Brooke Overstreet, MS, CGC received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. Brooke was a clinical genetic counselor at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for three years where she counseled adult patients for oncology, neurology, cardiology and healthy exome. She joined Ambry in 2017 as an oncology genetic specialist.

Register Now
  • Fri, March 1, 2019
  • 12:00pm PST
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • C.E.U. 1 unit
  • P.A.C.E. 1 unit

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