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.

    Webinar CEU

    Only the live session qualifies for CEUs but when possible, we host the recordings on our website and NSGC recommends participants to use their personal email instead of work email addresses to ensure they receive their CEU certificates.

    Webinar PACE

    Ambry Genetics is approved as a provider for continuing education program by NSGC and ASCLS P.A.C.E ® Program.


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. 


Ginger Haynes is a Senior Manager of Genetic Specialists at Ambry Genetics. In this role she leads a team of genetic experts as they assist in sales, client support and research. Prior to joining Ambry Ms. Haynes practiced as a clinical genetic counselor at Denver Health, the public safety net hospital in Colorado. She received her BS in Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara and her MS in Genetic Counseling from California State University Northridge. Ms. Haynes also holds an MBA in Health Care Management from Regis University. Her current research interest is in RNA functional studies in variant classification of alterations in hereditary cancer predisposition genes.

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

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