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.  Kelly Griffin Schoch (Class of 2005) received this award in 2014.

Kelly Schoch - 2014 Pacesetter AwardKelly received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002 and her MS in Genetic Counseling from UNCG in May 2005.  During her time at UNCG, Kelly completed a Capstone Project entitled “Behavioral Differences in Individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome Due to Deletion, Maternal Disomy and Imprinting Defects”. The results of this study were presented at the 2005 National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Education Conference.  Kelly’s success with her Capstone project seems to have foreshadowed both her professional interest in pediatric genetic counseling and behavioral phenotypes associated with chromosome disorders as well as her talents in conducting clinical research in genetic counseling.

Following graduation from the MS Genetic Counseling program in 2005, Kelly took a position as a laboratory genetic counselor at LabCorp in Research Triangle Park where she served as a liaison between LabCorp and their clients by providing education, and communicating and interpreting genetic test results to healthcare providers. In 2008 she joined the team of genetic counselors and medical geneticists in the Division of Medical Genetics of the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. As a genetic counselor and clinical study coordinator at Duke, Kelly coordinates the multidisciplinary 22q11Deletion Syndrome clinic and the Duke Sequencing Clinic, provides clinical genetic counseling and also actively participates in the development and implementation of clinical research studies.

Kelly has been a shining example of how a genetic counselor can apply his or her knowledge, skills and expertise in a variety of ways. As a clinical genetic counselor, she applies her knowledge of clinical genetics and her professional competencies in counseling, education and advocacy to help her clients manage the impact of a genetic diagnosis or risk. Kelly’s devotion to the welfare of her clients is evidenced by her active participation as a volunteer coordinator of NC 22q Deletion Syndrome Support. In this role she plans annual support group educational meetings as well as social events, and events designed to raise awareness of this condition. She has been successful in obtaining funding to support this work, including a Kids Care Grant from the Children’s Miracle Network.

Kelly also applies her knowledge and skills in designing, implementing, and coordinating clinical research studies in collaboration with her colleagues at Duke University. In the past 3 years, these efforts have resulted in 17 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and 11 platform and poster presentations at national professional conferences including the National Society of Genetic Counselors, American College of Medical Genetics, and American Society of Human Genetics.

Mentoring students is also a professional role that Kelly has embraced. She provides expert clinical supervision for genetic counseling students who rotate through the Duke Pediatric Clinics. She also shares her expertise in research by serving as a member of student capstone research project committees; she has served on three committees in the past four years. The quality of the research studies that students have completed under Kelly’s guidance has been excellent and has resulted in presentations at national meetings as well as publications in peer reviewed journals.

Kelly has been very loyal in her support of the MS Genetic Counseling program. In addition to individually mentoring students she has served as a member of the program’s External Advisory Committee. During our most recent accreditation she chaired the Capstone Project Self-Study Committee.

We were very pleased to nominate Kelly Schoch for the 2014 School of Health and Human Sciences Pacesetter Award for the Genetic Counseling Program. In the nine years since her graduation from the program Kelly has grown professionally and has established herself as an expert in clinical practice, research, advocacy, and education.

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