The NP profession started in 1965 as a way to provide advanced training and skills to nurses to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services in the face of decreasing provider availability. Here at UVA, NPs are present in both our inpatient and outpatient settings and provide services in almost every clinical department.
In recognition of NP Week, Lisa Letzkus is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, specializing in developmental pediatrics. Lisa embodies our four pillars of advanced practice—clinical excellence, research, education, and leadership.
On November 9th we celebrated Genetic Counselor Awareness Day! Genetic counselors (GC) are licensed and board-certified healthcare providers who practice in many different specialty areas, providing clinical care in both inpatient and outpatient settings. UVA Health currently employs 14 genetic counselors who practice in cancer, cardiovascular, neurology, pediatrics/general genetics, and prenatal settings.
Genetic counselors have specialized education in both medical genetics and psychosocial counseling and are collaborative members of an individual’s healthcare team. Genetic counselors fill a crucial role in healthcare — identifying key information and assessing risk based upon an individual’s personal and family health history, helping patients better understand the genetic testing process, ensuring informed consent and navigating the complexities of possible results, and supporting individuals and families upon receiving a genetic diagnosis.
As healthcare moves toward personalization, genetic testing is more frequently being requested from patients and providers in all areas of medicine. Genetic testing may help to elucidate an underlying cause for disease, illuminate potential health risks for patients and family members, inform medical management and treatment, and connect patients and families facing a rare disease with resources and community.
In addition, genetic-testing results are increasingly being used to guide selection of chemotherapy and determine eligibility for gene therapy and/or clinical trials. GCs are valuable members of the healthcare team, helping to increase access to genetic testing and empower patients in making informed healthcare decisions.
Genetic Counselor Awareness Day is an opportunity to highlight the unique expertise genetic counselors at UVA bring to patient care, and their dedication to ensuring that clinicians and patients have access to genetic counseling and testing at our institution.
APP Administrator for the Center for Advanced Practice
William Lombardi, DNP, AGACNP-BC, RN
Evan Turnbull, PA-C