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January 26, 1970

Genetic Counseling and the Physician

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha (Dr. Lynch and Mrs. Krush), and the Department of Pathology, Jersey City (NJ) Medical Center (Dr. Mulcahy).

JAMA. 1970;211(4):647-651. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170040051011

Genetic counseling should be an integral part of medical care when hereditary factors are either suspected or actually proven. In 1964, the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Human Genetics1 recommended increased training of medical personnel in medical genetics, with particular emphasis on genetic counseling. Again in 1968,2 it was emphasized that "education of the general practitioner in medical genetics is most important. Teaching should be given at both the preclinical and clinical levels of medical education. It is equally important that medical genetics be dealt with in postgraduate education in refresher courses."

Genetic specialty clinics are not the answer since too few exist to meet the pressing demands for counseling. Furthermore, since our approach to genetic counseling entails diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis of the patient and of his relatives at genetic risk, we feel that the continuity of the overall plan will be best assured when the