Within the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Genetic Counseling Program, Senior Genetic Counselor Rachel Barnett, MS, CGC, is responsible for direct patient care. This means that oftentimes she is the first person patients encounter when they are considering genetic counseling or testing.
Rachel meets with patients and takes a detailed family history to determine the likelihood that their cancer is hereditary.
If they are determined to be a good candidate for genetic testing, Rachel will then discuss the impact the test results will have on the family as a whole, explain the different tests that are available, and ultimately she will order the appropriate test.
“It is a wonderful feeling to be able to tell someone that they are not at increased risk for cancer,” said Rachel. “It is also rewarding when you do discover a hereditary cancer and you can help other family members by giving them options to prevent cancer, and make them aware that there is a risk so they can be more vigilant.”
Rachel’s interest in genetics started back in high school when she took a summer course on the topic.
She explained that she was fascinated by how much knowledge there was about genes and that so many different sciences were highlighted within the study of genes.
By the time she got to college, she knew she wanted to enter the field of genetics and has been at Yale since 2004.
She enjoys the ever changing nature of the field and the fact that there are always new and exciting discoveries being made.
Ellen Matloff, Research Scientist in the Department of Genetics and Director of the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Genetic Counseling Program commented, “Rachel Barnett has been the tireless clinic coordinator for Cancer Genetic Counseling for close to 8 years and is known for her efficiency, her strong work ethic and her positive and empathetic approach with all of our patients.”