Genetic Counseling

School of Health and Human Sciences

A Pacesetter Award is presented to an outstanding alumnus in the School of HHS who has attained local, state or regional recognition through their achievements in scholarship, leadership or service during their career or through civic involvement. Eddie Williams (Class of 2003) and his professional achievements are deserving of such accolades!

eddiewilliamsEddie received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA in 1999 and received his MS in Genetic Counseling from UNCG in 2003. During his time at UNCG he completed a Capstone Project entitled “Perceived Need for Genetic Education among Health Professional Graduate Students at UNC Greensboro”. Eddie’s early interest in the genetics education needs of healthcare providers perhaps foreshadowed the focus of his professional activities as a genetic counselor. “For me, the educational component of genetic counseling was one of the many appealing features of the profession,” says Williams. “Working with our healthcare providers and focusing on their genetics education allows for the highest quality of patient care.”

Following graduation he took a position in the Genetic Services Department at the LabCorp Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology in Research Triangle Park. In 2003, the role of a “laboratory” genetic counselor was still evolving. As a laboratory genetic counselor, Eddie applied his knowledge of clinical genetics and his communication and educational skills by serving as an educator and resource for physicians, nurses, genetic counselors and other healthcare providers regarding genetic testing and genetic conditions. Just three years later, 2006, he was promoted to the position of Technical Supervisor of Genetic Services where he was responsible for the daily operations of the Genetic Services department. This included providing supervision for 14 direct reports including other genetic counselors and Customer Service professionals. He assumed greater responsibilities for educating the LabCorp sales representatives and collaborating with the marketing department to draft technical literature for healthcare providers and patient education materials.

Within 4 years, Eddie was once again promoted – this time to the position of Manager of Genetic Services. In this position provides oversight for 40 employees including laboratory based genetic counselors, Customer Services representatives and Maternal Serum Screening Customer Services. He provides project management of new genetic test launches including technical and patient education literature and training of LabCorp employees. “I really enjoy watching the growth and achievements of the individuals in my Genetic Services department and I hope that I have contributed in some way. I also enjoy watching how the evolving and ever-increasing complexity of the lab technology with genetic testing.” shares Eddie. While Eddie’s career path over the past 10 years clearly shows the recognition of his talents and a rapid progression to increased managerial responsibilities, one underlying theme is his role in providing education for healthcare providers, other service providers, and, through the development of educational materials, patients.

Throughout this time, Eddie has also been directly involved in providing a crucial educational experience for students enrolled in our Genetic Counseling program by coordinating educational shadowing experiences for all first year students. He proposed, designed and implemented an elective Summer Laboratory Internship for students in our program. These experiences are valued by our students and have inspired several of our graduates to seek positions as laboratory counselors. As genetic testing of all types continues to become an integral part of healthcare, an increasing number of genetic counselors will inevitably follow in Eddie’s footsteps by assuming relevant positions in the genetic testing industry. This trend underscores the need for additional training in this expanding area of practice for genetic counselors. Eddie recently approached the UNCG Genetic Counseling program with a suggestion to develop a full supervised rotation in laboratory genetic counseling for our students. Although most supervised clinical training for genetic counseling students remains focused on traditional clinical roles, this elective rotation has and continues to be an attractive option for students enrolled in the UNCG Genetic Counseling program. “The opportunity to work with students is very rewarding,” says Eddie. “We hope to offer them our knowledge, tools and resources that will help them be successful as they begin their professional careers.”

Eddie’s other accomplishments include developing class room instruction materials and activities on basic genetics for local middle school students and participating as Team Captain for the LabCorp Genetic Services group in a recent March of Dimes “March for Babies”. He has contributed to various professional publications and abstracts presented at national meetings in order to help educate the genetics community. Eddie is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of East Carolina while working full-time. “I think and hope that this will make me a better co-worker, manager and advocate for our genetic counselors working at LabCorp and all of the health care professionals with which we work” he describes.

Eddie has been an outstanding role model for our students, and has extended his expertise nationally as a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors Industry Special Interest Group. We are very pleased to recognize his accomplishments as the 2013 HHS Alumni Association Pacesetter Award Recipient!

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