HCDM 51 | Prenatal Genetic Counselor

 

One of the most flexible professions in healthcare is a genetic counselor since they can jump from one expertise to another should they deem it necessary. Kira Dineen found her purpose in healthcare as a prenatal genetic counselor. She joins Richard Marn, MD to provide a glimpse of her life in private practice, unraveling the best and most challenging aspects of her work. She looks back on why she decided to pursue such a profession, the misconceptions surrounding her expertise, and her podcast show about genetics that she started way back in high school. Kira also discusses why aspiring medical practitioners inclined to communication and Biology make the most effective genetic counselors.

Listen to the podcast here:

Kira Dineen: Sharing The Life, Challenges, And Mission Of A Prenatal Genetic Counselor

I like to share some information. I learned that this show, Health Careers with Dr. Marn, is in the top 10% of the most popular shows out of 2 million podcasts globally. That’s awesome. I’m blessed to be in that position. The reason for that is because of the awesome guests I have. They are wonderful. I’ve been blessed to have many insightful, inspiring, and smart guests on this show. This episode is no exception. We’re going to talk with Kira Dineen. She’s a Genetic Counselor in Connecticut and her love of Science led her to her career.

She loved Science so much and was interested in genetics early on even in high school that she started a podcast, Centered Around Genetics. It’s an award-winning podcast. I’m fortunate to have a veteran like her on this show and share the love of her career as well as a genetic counselor on this episode. Before we jump into it, I’d like to ask if you are enjoying this episode or if you enjoy other episodes or the show, I would love to have you give me and give the show a five-star rating on whatever podcast app that you utilize.

It will help bring attention to other people out there who may be interested or could find this information and this resource useful to them. It would help. I would love to get your input as well. If there are comments you’d like to provide that are positive, I would love those, and it would be greatly appreciated. Of course, you can also check me out on my website, HCWithDrMarn.com. Of course, you can check out the guests, find out more information about them, find their links, find their social media, and also read in detail about their episode as well.

I have a wonderful, unique guest. Miss Kira Dineen. Thanks for joining me here.

Thank you for having me on the show. It’s interesting. You dive into many careers on the show. I’m excited that genetic counseling can be one of them.

Especially in healthcare, as we’re going to find out. Kira, you’re a genetic counselor and I like to dive into that. As we progress through this episode, we’re definitely going to find out you’re doing a lot of different things besides genetic counseling. Anyway, let’s start off with something real quick. Give me a quick bio of yourself.

I am a prenatal genetic counselor. I started my career getting an undergrad, Bachelor of Science Degree in Diagnostic Genetics, so looking at chromosomes in that area of genetics and the testing surrounding that, and then I went on to get my Master’s of Science in Genetic Counseling, so human genetics. As my main job, I’m a prenatal genetic counselor at a private practice in Stamford, Connecticut. It’s outside of New York City for people that aren’t familiar with the area. I help pregnant people understand the genetics of their pregnancies and make decisions surrounding that. I meet with people and talk to them about their genetics of not only their pregnancy but their family as well.

What are the usual steps to achieve your professional degree? Did you take the usual steps?

Yeah, I would say I’m somewhat standard with it. You have to have a Bachelor’s of something, so art and science, a four-year degree, and certain prerequisites. You have to have some Psychology background, some classes with that, some genetics background, and some others thrown in there and apply to Master’s programs in Genetic Counseling. There’s about 40 or so in North America and it’s a match system. You apply to it, get interviews, and then you rank those programs, and then it goes into the match system. If you do end up getting matched, you’re signed to go to one of the programs. It’s a two-year Master’s program, and then you can be a genetic counselor.

Is it competitive?

It is. It’s about a 31% acceptance rate for my year, so that’s gone down a little bit since. I graduated in 2020. Class of 2020 will follow me for a while. About 1/3 of people that end up applying to school got matched and enrolled in programs.

The best part of your career?

That is a tough question because there’s so much. I would say being able to connect with patients directly and talk to them. That a-ha moment when they finally get a tough genetic concept and you were able to bring that to them and help explain it. That moment of like, “I’m impacting this person’s life potentially of what you’re talking about.” Genetics has a lot of impact on different areas of health, life, and family. That’s probably the best parts. Those are the best days.

The least favorite part of your career?

HCDM 51 | Prenatal Genetic Counselor

Prenatal Genetic Counselor: Google isn’t always the best. Sometimes, there can be a lot of disturbing information that can come up that’s not presented in the right way.

 

I won’t say paperwork because that’s a cop-out answer. I would say the least favorite part is having to track down results. I don’t know if that quite is paperwork, but contacting the lab saying, “I was expecting this result today. Where is it? When can I expect it?” Bringing that information to patients. Sometimes, they’re calling, “My results in yet?” You’re like, “I’m sorry.” You’re the middleman sometimes when it comes to that. That part can be challenging and a little frustrating if you don’t have results quickly. That’s the part that I wish I could make results appear magically on my desk quickly.

Those four questions are meant to give a quick summary and overall view of what your career is like. Let’s dive a little deeper. What is your typical day like as a genetic counselor?

As a genetic counselor, I am meeting with patients in terms of what do we talk about when they’re sitting at my desk. Since I’m in prenatal, I’m meeting mostly with people that are pregnant. I’m going through their history in terms of other pregnancies and talking about their family history. Talking not just about pregnancies in the family and how those went but also about possible cancer in the family or other conditions that may be inherited. Looking to see, is there anything coming up in family history that we should be talking about for this pregnancy?

Cancer will come up as well. There are different areas of genetic counseling but prenatal is one of the biggest areas, so that’s what I’m focused on but other things come up. We go through that and we go through genetic testing options for the pregnancy. If they want to do genetic testing to see, is there a high likelihood of having a genetic condition for that pregnancy or is there a low likelihood and they’re more in that general population so that everything is coming back looking normal? We go through that and part of it is not just saying, “Which one of these do you want?” It’s processing.

“Let’s talk about the test. Do you understand the test? Is this a test that you want to do? Does this work for you and your partner and whoever’s making those decisions with you?” It’s knowing the genetics, being able to educate on that, and teach that, but then also, the counseling part of it is processing that and saying, “Not everybody is going to want the same thing.” That’s where we’re a little bit different than other, maybe providers that are like, “We’re doing this,” whereas a lot of genetics is more optional.

That’s a big part of the session and going through that. In terms of when I’m not sitting with a patient, I’m writing patient letters, so explaining everything we talked about during the session so I can inform their doctor or their healthcare provider. Following up with results and saying, “I get a result. I’m calling the patient and informing them and helping them understand what this means if it’s not just a normal result.” Certainly, that can be part of it.

Sometimes, if patients are having a procedure, being involved during that to some extent, more observing but also being the point person that I’m seeing their care through, stability for patients to have like, “I was talking with a genetic counselor about this procedure. Now we’re sitting here. This is being done and she’s still here.” That’s a bulk of what it is in terms of that direct patient care and what that day looks like.

You must have developed and learned a wealth of information about all these different genetic disorders because there’s a lot of them.

I will never know all of them.

Not everybody is going to want the same thing. Click To Tweet

That’s how many they are, but there must be a few core ones that stand out. Do you have a patient in particular that stands out of how you had a real impact on what you’re doing?

There are patients that come in that we go through genetic testing and everything comes back normal, and then there are other situations where a patient comes in and decides to do testing, and something does come back abnormal or high risk. There are different terms that we use to say there could be a condition in the fetus or in the pregnancy. Someone that has more common condition so that would be something like Down syndrome. Someone that has an extra chromosome, particularly extra chromosome number 21. That one is, I would say, the most common in terms of what’s coming up for pregnancies and the type of testing that we’re doing.

For people that aren’t familiar, people with Down syndrome can have an intellectual disability. They can have some medical problems as well, so some heart problems that are increased risk for certain cancers like leukemia. Others like GI problems, gastrointestinal problems. There’s a list. Like many conditions, it’s a spectrum disorder. Some people are more on the mild end of that and some people that are more on the severe, more impacted end.

Is there a patient that you’ve taken care of, whether it’s a Down syndrome or something else where you remember they broke down on you? Is there some experience that you could share?

When I’m giving results, typically, it’s on the phone because I just got the results on contacting the patient. Usually, patients aren’t expecting me to have results that are this high risk of saying, “Your pregnancy is high risk. There’s a high chance for this condition.” I think about a certain patient in particular. I had called them and told them, “This is a higher chance that the baby does have Down syndrome.” They certainly were upset that they weren’t expecting me to say that. Part of that conversation is looking at, “Let’s continue this conversation in the office. Why don’t you come in, we can look at this report together, and learn more about this?”

Some patients will ask like, “Should I start researching ahead of time?” That’s a common question I’ll get and I say, “It’s up to you. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming that maybe it’s better we sit down and talk about things, and I answer your questions directly. I’m sure you’re aware that Dr. Google isn’t always the best. Sometimes, there can be a lot of disturbing information that can come up that’s not presented in the right way.” That certainly is something. When that patient came in, it’s nice to be able to sit with someone, process that, not just be sitting possibly by yourself, and reading that information.

Being able to talk not only about, “Here’s the information,” but, “How are you feeling about this? Is there something that you want to bring with you to that appointment?” There’s a lot surrounding the human experience and not forgetting about that aspect of it because it can be challenging to hear the news that you weren’t exactly expecting. Even though you knew that could come out of it, most people think, “Not me.” It’s going to be some people that does come up for.

I presume most genetic counselors are in a clinic setting like you are. Is that true?

Yeah. Most genetic counselors are working in a hospital setting. I’m a little bit different because I work in private practice. There are other genetic counselors that do. There’s more of a minority of us that are working in private practice, but that is just part of it. There are genetic counselors that work on more of the research side and laboratory. There are genetic counselors that work in specialized areas like neurogenetics, so looking at conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and different conditions that are affecting those areas of the body. If there’s an area in healthcare you’re thinking of, there’s probably a genetic counselor that works in there. If not yet, in the next few years, I would say, would be joining that.

Walk us through your typical day. Are you showing up at 9:00 and you’re leaving at 5:00? Is it something different?

Most of the time, I’m showing up at 9:00 and I’m able to leave at 5:00. There are always some exceptions that happen, but for the most part, genetic counseling is not one that you’re having to stay and do a lot of extra hours in terms of something coming up. It depends on how your team looks. Some genetic counselors, because there’s not a lot of us, have to take on a lot of patients, so that can max out your day. I have colleagues in the field that are working long days. It can depend on how many patients you have and how many you’re responsible for. That definitely differs. As we get more genetic counselors, hopefully, starts to improve so that we aren’t having our schedule so packed with patients.

Prenatal Genetic Counselor: Cancer, prenatal, and pediatrics are the main three areas that genetic counselors work in.

 

How many patients do you see a day typically in your setting?

It definitely ranges. It can range from me not seeing any patients and I’m just writing letters and looking at results all day or I could potentially see eight patients in a day and have all of those hours filled. I would say more than an average, it’s 4 or 5 patients, so that depends. I tend to book an hour with patients where some places would maybe only book 15 minutes or 30 minutes. It does range, but somewhere in that.

You’re not on call for anything.

No. That is one aspect that I like about genetic counseling. I don’t know any genetic counselors that are on call. That’s something that went into my decision-making process in terms of like, “What career do I want? How does that look for my life?”

What are the fields besides prenatal medicine that genetic counselors can go into?

I would say cancer, prenatal, and pediatrics are the main three areas that genetic counselors work in. That’s shifting a lot. We have a lot of genetic counselors working in cardiac. Working with people with heart conditions because there are certain conditions that are genetic and inherited. For identifying that, we want to start testing other people in the family. For a heart condition, if you can get on a medication that can save your life, that’s important to do as soon as you discover that. That’s an interesting area.

There’s ophthalmology, so looking at eye conditions. There’s metabolic, so looking at conditions where maybe the body isn’t able to break down a certain protein, so it’s building up in the body and causing issues. There are many different areas, which is what makes it an exciting career. I’ve always been interested in prenatal and I was thinking that’s where I would go. Say in a number of years, I say, “This is getting a little routine to me. I can switch into cancer and it’s almost like a different career even though it’s all those same basic skills.”

Genetic counselors are all trained in the same way, and then you end up specializing in something. You’re able to transition into other areas. In genetic counselors, I see that all the time. After a few years, they’re like, “I’m going to switch it up and do pediatrics.” “I’m going to switch it up and become a professor or program director and help train the next generation of genetic counselors.” There’s a lot of flexibility in terms of how your career looks.

What are some misconceptions people have of a genetic counselor?

The first one is if you meet with a genetic counselor, you have to do genetic testing. It’s not the same. When you’re meeting with a genetic counselor, it’s part of that decision-making of like, “Let’s look at the testing and see, do you want to do the testing?” You can go meet with a genetic counselor and go through all the information to say, “Thanks for going through that, but I don’t want to do testing.” That’s totally fine. It doesn’t matter to us. What matters is that we’re educating the patient and making sure that they are making the best decision for them.

Sometimes, that decision is not doing testing and that’s great as long as they understand what goes into that. Some people may not want to know if there’s a certain genetic predisposition for something. You’re at higher risk for developing cancer because we find a certain change in your genes. That’s going to be a personal decision. That’s an approach that genetic counselors take that we’re going through those options and educating so that people are making that decision. Some people think, “I don’t want to do genetic testing. I don’t want to see a genetic counselor,” but there’s much more to it than that.

I presume you deal with some patients who have a lot of apprehension about seeing you and how you have to overcome that barrier.

Sometimes, people didn’t meet with a genetic counselor in previous pregnancies. They come in and they’re like, “I’m not supposed to be here. I don’t understand why I’m here. I wasn’t here for my last pregnancy.” Having to say, “Let’s backtrack a little bit and talk about why we are here. I meet with all the patients that come into this practice, so there’s not a particular reason we’re bringing you in.” That’s going to differ. Some places may only see pregnancies that are considered a higher risk. Someone that’s older when they’re having a baby or we found something on ultrasound. We’re looking at images of the pregnancy and looking at those pictures and say, “Something might look a little different.” It depends where you are and where you are in the world, too.

What matters most to a genetic counselor is educating the patient and guiding them in making the best decision. Click To Tweet

Let’s change the topic a little bit here. The outlook of your profession as a genetic counselor, what’s the future like in your opinion?

The future is bright, I would say. Genetic counseling as a career is projected out to be growing fast. I’m trying to remember the exact number, but the next several years, it was something like the high 20%, so 28% or something of growth in the career as a comparison of like, “What about other careers?” In general, it tends to be more like 5%, 6%, 7% something in those ranges. We’re exploding in terms of jobs that are available and opportunities. I constantly see job postings for interesting like, “That’s an interesting area that a genetic counselor could work in.” It’s exciting to see all the areas that we can go and things we haven’t even thought of yet.

What type of students do you think best flourish in this type of career?

Students that are interested in Science and interested in communication. There are a lot of different careers within Science communication and genetic counseling is certainly one of them. If Genetics and Biology were intriguing to you and you liked those units in school, it’s worth checking out genetic counseling. If you like writing, making presentations, public speaking, explaining concepts, and talking about Science, this is a good field to explore.

Even if the talking and communications part isn’t as appealing, there are genetic counselors that work for laboratories where you’re doing more of looking at the data that comes out of genetic testing and helping to understand what all that means. Helping doctors to understand what that means or coming up in developing some of the testings. Some genetic counselors aren’t working directly with patients, which is an important thing to highlight.

You said something about educating physicians, too. It’s not just educating patients. It’s also educating other health care providers about genetics and certain diseases. Is that true?

Yeah, some genetic counselors. It’s usually ones that have a little bit more years under their belt. I’m a new genetic counselor. Some others that have been in the field for a while are in roles where they are educating doctors and other healthcare providers saying, “Learn about this genetic testing so that you can order this for your patients.” Because there are not enough genetic counselors, a lot of other healthcare providers are ordering genetic testing, so you’re not always going to have a genetic counselor when you’re getting genetic testing ordered. Oftentimes, it also depends on what healthcare system you’re in.

Let’s talk about how you even got into this career. First of all, what kind of student were you? Were you a real Science nerdy type of student? How would you describe yourself as a student in high school?

In high school, I definitely was interested in the sciences. I remember we had an A/B day, so we flip our schedule every day and one of mine was full of Science classes. That was like, “This is the day that I preferred.” I would say I was not a straight-A student. I am not someone that I would say is book smart.

You’re telling this now. I would never have let you come on this show if that’s the case.

I’m not allowed, right? It’s important to bring up because at first, I was like, “That seems like a career that only brainiacs would do. Genetics sounds complicated,” and it is. It’s good to hear that you don’t have to be the top student, have all APs, have all honors, or anything like that. Those things can help but there are some of my colleagues that I was like, “They fit that brainiac and book smart.” It’s for people that are interested and passionate about genetics and that you like to learn. It’s not a career where you learn something once and you’re good. Every day, I’m learning new things and I’m like, “I had no idea this disease had this involved. This testing is now brand new.” That’s the exciting part of the career.

How’d you get interested in genetics in the first place? Was this on your mind? Were you interested in this when you were in high school or even earlier?

I had heard about genetic counseling in high school and at first, I was like, “This seems like a cool career. I’m going to go for this.”

How’d you hear about it?

I heard about it through my mom. She’s a social worker. I always thought her career was cool being able to talk with people and the therapy aspect, but I was like, “It’s not quite nerdy enough for me. I need another element there.” That’s when she was like, “I found your career.” I was like, “What is it?” She’s like, “Genetic counseling. You could be a genetic counselor.” I was like, “I have no idea what that is. That sounds weird.”

I started learning more about it. I was like, “This seems interesting, but is it going to be sad?” That was my thing of like, “Is every day going to be a tough day?” At first, I was like, “You must just be giving bad news all day,” but then when I started learning about it, I learned a lot of it is not necessarily giving bad news. A lot of it is empowering of being able to educate people, and then they can make decisions that are life-saving possibly. Having that new perspective on it was helpful in terms of looking at it and depending on what field you go into.

Prenatal Genetic Counselor: Genetic counselors are all trained in the same way, and then you end up specializing in something. You’re able to transition into other areas.

 

A lot of mine are cases where it’s completely normal pregnancies. You get to meet with people, be excited about their pregnancy, and talk to them about their lives and everything. Different roles are going to have different levels of that. That’s why it’s important to even look at job shadowing because that was helpful for me to be like, “Let me see a genetic counseling session and see if that’s something I want to do.”

You did some job shadowing when you’re younger and that was helpful.

I had done job shadowing while I was an undergrad. During that time, I was able to shadow a bunch of different genetic counselors and I was like, “This is definitely something I want to do and pursue.”

That was a key thing in helping your decision-making process of choosing that career versus other options?

It was. Even hearing from the genetic counselors of what grad schools they went to and how they get into grad school was helpful. They became helpful for me when I was writing my application essay that they were like, “Send it to me, I’ll make some edits and give you some suggestions.” Having role models and mentors can be helpful because you have no idea what you’re doing when you start. Find someone that can help you say, “Go check out this internship. This might be a good fit for you to learn more.”

Reflecting back, would you have done anything differently?

I would have done a little bit more experience with counseling. I personally had a lot of genetics in undergrad and with grad school and everything, so I had a lot of genetic exposure and learning. The Science, I feel like I was able to learn a lot even starting in high school, but when it comes to counseling, it would have been advantageous for me to have more of those experiences like volunteer for a hotline. There are some different ones like Crisis Text Line that a lot of my colleagues had done before grad school. Getting more of that experience so that you know how to counsel patients more. That comes with time and experience. As much experience you can get can set you up to feel confident and feel like you’re a good genetic counselor right after graduation.

Improving your communication skills. Let’s change gears to something totally different, rapid-fire questions. What’s your favorite thing to drink?

A cold brew coffee is nice.

Favorite holiday?

Halloween. It’s fun.

You get dressed up, I presume.

I have dressed up as a scientist because that is an easy thing to grab from the closet. DNA necklaces and all.

Least favorite subject in school?

Math because it was challenging. I went for Biology and Genetics because I wasn’t good at Math. I don’t need to use Math as much in genetics.

I thought you would have to use some good amount of Math in genetics.

Genetic counseling is not a career where you learn something once, and you're good. Every day is a continuous learning process. Click To Tweet

Definitely some but not as much as other areas, which is why I was like, “I’m better at genetics because there’s less of the Math there.”

Favorite day of the week?

Friday because you get to end your week usually on a good note, hopefully, and wrap things up, and then feel good heading into the weekend.

What’s your favorite season?

Summer. Connecticut can get a little cold in the winter, so I’m not a fan of that.

What sports activities, if any, did you participate in when growing up?

I played field hockey for years and that was fun. Now, more like kayaking and that kind of thing. I started getting into that in college.

Do you have a favorite board game?

Catan. It’s fun.

I haven’t played that.

It’s a good one. You can get into all the different levels of it.

What’s something you could eat for a week straight?

Eggs are a staple. You can do it in many different ways.

How do you eat it?

Hard-boiled, sunny side up, fried, scrambled. All of those are my favorites and they’re fast.

Last question. What’s for dinner tonight?

I ate before this. I had a veggie burger because that was the quick meal.

You passed. Thank you for participating in the rapid-fire questions. I found you because you have a number of podcasts yourself. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with that and how people can find a little bit more about you if they want to learn more.

In high school, I had started the podcast that I have called DNA Today. The podcast explores different concepts in genetics. I bring on guests who are experts in different areas of genetics. A lot of genetic counselors since that’s my background. I’m talking to patients with different conditions, talking to researchers, and people that work for biotech companies. I started the podcast as a way to explore careers in genetics, meet more people, and learn more about the world of genetics.

How old were you when you started it?

I started it in 2012, so I must have been 17, 18, or something like that. It’s started as a high school project and then it’s grown with me. It used to be me researching different genetic topics and talking with different people in the field. Now, I’m able to chime in a little bit more since I’ve had more experience since I started several years ago.

This is a good podcast. Tell us a little bit about how well it’s been rated, the success you’ve had, and the awards you’ve won.

Thank you. In 2020, we won the Podcast Awards for Best Science and Medicine Show. That was exciting.

All of 2020?

This is a Podcast Awards. It’s like the People’s Choice Podcast Awards. I want to thank our listeners for that because they made that happen. It was exciting. We’ve been nominated for the year, so I was like, “We’ll keep getting the nominations. That’s awesome.” I was shocked that we won. It’s been picking up over the years in terms of the amount of listeners we have and our engagement. It’s been exciting.

We have a lot of episodes that are focused on how to become a genetic counselor learning about different areas and other areas of genetics. We’ve had episodes about figuring out more of the bioinformatics side or Computer Science. I’m looking at how to be on the genetic testing side. There are many different careers and technologies. Some people are like, “How do you talk about genetics for half an hour?” I’m like, “How do you only talk about genetics for half an hour?”

That sounds like a nerdy phrase right there.

If people haven’t figured that out by now, I’m quite a nerd.

You’ve also had some other podcasts that you did as well. This is your 3rd, 4th, 5th podcast that you’ve hosted and produced. You have a lot of experience.

I’ve had a couple of other shows in healthcare. One about more the counseling side. I started that for private practice. I’m talking about things like CBT, DBT, and different therapies. I had a dental podcast for a while for another dental company. I got to bring on dentists and learn about a whole world that I have no idea about, and now I know a little bit more.

What was your first podcast?

My first podcast was about the Hunger Games series. I feel like you knew the answer.

Prenatal Genetic Counselor: If Genetics and Biology were intriguing to you and liked those units in school, it’s worth checking out genetic counseling.

 

What was it called?

It was called Nightlock. That had almost 60 episodes.

You won awards for that, too, if I recall.

Yeah. We got some nominations for that one.

Where can people find out more about you and check out what you’re doing? I know we talked about the podcast, but where can people learn more about you and what you’re doing?

Going to DNAPodcast.com is going to give you links to just about everything and searching on social media, DNA Today. That’s the name of the show. We do lots of fun giveaways on our social media. It’s another reason to follow us and win Bluetooth headphones and different genetic books. We try to do a lot of fun giveaways to get back to our listeners.

You’re educating along the way, too. I’m impressed with what you’re doing. Kira, thanks for coming on the show. I appreciate it.

I’m glad that you have this show because there are many cool careers to go into in healthcare and some people may just think of doctor researcher, but there’s so much more than that. I’m glad that you could provide this for people that are exploring options.

This career, in particular, is unique and could be up the alley for the right person. Thanks for coming on board, Kira.

Thank you for having me.

Thanks for reading. To learn more about our guest or other past guests, check out my website HealthCareersWithDrMarn.com or HCWithDrMarn.com. Of course, if you’d like what you’ve read in this show, then please go to my website. Add your name and email to my email list. That way, you can get the latest announcements and news as they arise. You can also find me on Instagram @DrRichardMarn. Thank you for reading and catch on the next episode.

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About Kira Dineen

HCDM 51 | Prenatal Genetic CounselorMy career is a blend of genetic counseling and digital media. My goal is to educate the public about genetics and the impact on their health.

I have been working in online media for 10 years in the fields of digital marketing, social media, blogging, and podcasting/radio. Over the years, I have hosted and produced 5 shows, most of which have been healthcare podcasts. My main broadcast is “DNA Today”, a radio show/podcast educating the public on genetic and public health topics through in depth interviews with experts in the field. Guests include genetic counselors, researchers, patient advocates and biotech leaders. The show won the “Best 2020 Science and Medicine Podcast Award” and has been featured in Podcast Magazine. There are also opportunities for genetic companies to sponsor the show, for further details please contact me directly.

I am also a prenatal genetic counselor at Maternal Fetal Care, a private practice outside of New York City in Stamford, Connecticut. In this role, I meet with patients with high risk pregnancies to discuss genetic testing options, collect and analyze family health history, and assess the chance for genetic conditions.

I am passionate about advocating for the rare disease community and have worked collaboratively with the National Organization for Rare Disorders and specific organizations to provide education and raise awareness.