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Genetic Counseling Graduate Program

Meet the DARE Committee

Committee Members

Austin Bland

Austin Bland, Co-Chair (he/him)

Diversification within the field of genetic counseling is going to take active effort. Through my current role as a research genetic counselor at the University of Washington, my activism within NSGC and my previous role as a co-coordinator of the Minority Genetic Professionals Network, I'm dedicated to changing the face of health care through expanding access to genetic services to minority and underserved populations on a national scale. I believe that the oversight that the DARE Committee provides for the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program will play a role in this transformation and will be a model for anti-racist structures to come. I'm proud to be a part of DARE and believe that through deliberative action and compassionate criticism we can create real change.

Susheela Jayaraman

Susheela Jayaraman, Co-Chair (she/her)

I'm so excited and honored to be part of the DARE Committee because I believe this is the first step in setting the groundwork for creating a culture in the field of genetic counseling that celebrates the voices and leadership of people of color. As our workforce becomes more diverse, the benefit extends beyond genetic counselors to our patient population. I have an M.A. in medical humanities and bioethics, and I'm on the faculty of the Northwestern University's Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling, where I sit on the Mental Health and Wellness Committee. This group actively works to improve the well-being of students in the program, with a focus on current events and BIPOC students. I strive to intentionally use my experience and education to further the work of diversity, equity and inclusion and anti-racism in health care and genetic counseling.

Sherry Mae Ancheta

Sherry Mae Ancheta (she/her)

It's an honor to serve on the DARE Committee as I firmly believe in the mission and vision set forth by DARE. I'm excited for the work ahead to ensure that the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program upholds its values. Having a diverse group of genetic counselors makes our field better for the science we seek, and the patients and families we serve.

Erika Beckman

Erika Beckman (she/her)

I grew up in South King County in a racially and socioeconomically diverse community. I joined the DARE Committee to continue learning about the inequities faced by individuals in our society and to help ensure that the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program honors the values that I learned from my community and takes actionable steps to be an anti-racist program.

Robin Bennet

Robin Bennett (she/her)

As acting program director, I commit to infusing a focus on diversity, anti-racism and equity throughout all aspects of the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. I welcome diverse backgrounds, opinions, perspectives and experiences. I know that we can change the face and path of the field of genetic counseling to benefit our students, faculty, supervisors and ultimately our patients.

Sarah Clowes Candadai

Sarah Clowes Candadai (she/her)

As a queer person of color, I'm proud to be a member of the DARE Committee and working to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of genetic counseling and beyond. I strongly believe a diverse workforce at every level is integral to promoting innovation and excellence for ourselves, our communities, and our profession. I look forward to supporting UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program to be accountable to these goals through my role in the DARE Committee.

Penny Chow

Penny Chow (she/her)

Being a member of the DARE Committee is important to me because as one of the program leaders, I feel I have a duty to our students, and to the profession as a whole, to be an active participant in identifying and dismantling the systemic racism that's ingrained in society, the education system and our field. Working with the other amazing members of the DARE Committee especially inspires me on my journey to become a better ally to BIPOC individuals.

Cheyenne Dewey

Cheyenne Dewey (she/her)

With my graduate thesis research specifically recognizing race/ethnicity as a component of culture and diversity, I believe it's important that we recognize our perceptions of "different" and "sameness," deconstruct our implicit biases, and learn how to support one another and celebrate diversity. These perceptions directly impact our relationships, including between patients and providers, students and instructors, and among colleagues in the genetic counseling field. With these values in mind, I am excited to endeavor toward a greater future for genetic counseling, starting with our students and the DARE Committee.

Marianne Dubard-Gault

Marianne Dubard-Gault (she/her)

I am a Reunionese American, a woman of color, an underrepresented minority faculty in the Division of Medical Genetics and a cancer geneticist. I'm honored to help write a blueprint that gears the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program through to a DARE learning, training and teaching environment.

Katie Golden-Grant

Katie Golden-Grant (she/her)

I'm grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the mission and vision of the DARE Committee. This work holds me accountable for my personal commitments to equity and anti-racism as we strive to set an example for genetics professional organizations and other academic programs. Working with and learning from this team of brilliant colleagues makes me feel fulfilled and optimistic for progress and change in the genetic counseling profession.

Mercy Laurino

Mercy Laurino (she/her)

Being a member of the DARE Committee is a valuable opportunity to actively shape the future and create a diverse genetic counseling workforce. As an immigrant, I'm empowered to invest the time it will take to create anti-racism policies and implement inclusive practices in training our genetic counseling graduate students. Globally, I’ve played a pivotal role in expanding the field of genetic counseling in Southeast Asia and I currently serve as past president for the Professional Society of Genetic Counselors in Asia and board secretary for the Asia-Pacific Human Genetics Society.

Brianna Nelson

Brianna Nelson (she/her)

Being a responsible community member means supporting each one of our diverse members, particularly those who have gone underrepresented in positions of power. Our genetic counseling profession lacks racial diversity, which is a problem that negatively impacts us as providers, our patients and our community at large. I'm proud of the DARE mission to address this lack of diversity with meaningful action towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser

Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser (she/her)

Forming and contributing to the DARE Committee is one of my ways to heed the call to activism of the Black Lives Matter movement. It's a means to effect change and meaningfully help dismantle white supremacy. The UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is launching with an explicit anti-racist commitment, and I’m passionate about working via the DARE Committee to ensure this commitment is upheld.

Brynna Nguyenton

Brynna Nguyenton (she/her)

Representation is everything. Having diverse providers mirror the communities that they serve not only further promotes accessibility to health care but also advances our profession and the science that upholds it. With the DARE Committee, we're taking concrete action to advance diversity and equity in the genetic counseling community with lasting effects felt beyond.

Jennifer Rietzler

Jennifer Rietzler (she/her)

Serving on the DARE Committee allows me to take an active role in holding myself, our training program and our institution accountable in the necessary efforts of advancing diversity, anti-racism and equity. It is important to me that all students in the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program feel comfortable and welcomed, and that they have equal opportunities to succeed.

Brad Rolf

Brad Rolf (he/him)

I serve on the DARE Committee to ensure that the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, in addition to valuing diversity, equity and anti-racism, acts on these values by creating a program that is welcoming and extends opportunities to all our students.

Darci Sternen

Darci Sternen (she/her)

The DARE Committee's mission and vision inspire a better future for the genetic counseling profession and, ultimately, patients. We must recognize that there are vast inequities in access to resources and care. Accountability, action and allyship are long overdue. I'm particularly passionate about the opportunity to broaden recruitment and community outreach to future genetic counselors who might not otherwise have known about this remarkable career, so that our profession reflects the true diversity of our communities.