Program Leadership

 

Minimize Genetic Counseling Program Director
Jodie M. Vento, MGC, LCGC

JVento_Headshot637575706238059293Jodie M. Vento is the Director of the Genetic Counseling Program and an Assistant Professor of Human Genetics. After completing undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2005, Jodie earned a Masters in Genetic Counseling from the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore in 2008. She worked as a genetic counselor and neurogenetics program coordinator at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, before joining Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2012. At UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Jodie managed an innovative program called the Center for Rare Disease Therapy. In her role at Children’s Hospital, Jodie worked extensively with payers to develop shared processes and resources to increase the coverage and reimbursement of genetic testing. 

Jodie is the Insurance Alignment Committee Chair for the Patient-Centered Laboratory Guidance Services (PLUGS) Group out of Seattle Children’s Hospital. Jodie is also an active member of NSGC and is currently on the Board of Directors. In her role at NSGC, she has served as the chair of the Access and Service Delivery committee and the co-chair of the Test Utilization Subcommittee within the Industry SIG. Jodie is also the Founder and Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Genetic Counselors. Jodie serves as the Genetics Faculty for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Related Disorders (LEND) Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout her career, Jodie has worked closely with rare disease community and will continue this work through the Pennsylvania Rare Disease Advisory Council (PARDAC).

Jodie’s teaching interests are in genetic testing technologies, neurogenetics, psychosocial counseling and general pediatrics. Her research interests include rare disease, access to genomic services, and payer policies.

Minimize Associate Genetic Counseling Program Director
Andrea L. Durst, MS, DrPH, LCGC

Andrea Durst, MS, DrPH, LCGCDr. Durst is the Associate Director of the Genetic Counseling Program and the Co-Director of the MPH Program in Public Health Genetics. She joins the program with extensive experience in clinical cancer genetic counseling, management, and public health genetics. Dr. Durst's teaching interests are in genetic counseling and public health genetics. She provides support in Genetic Counseling Program development and is engaged in teaching, student research, and the coordination of student clinical rotations.

Dr. Durst’s research interests include public health genetics and cancer genetics. Specifically, she is interested in the state implementation of CDC Tier 1 Genomic Applications for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome, Lynch syndrome and Familial Hypercholesterolemia. She is currently working with a number of stakeholders on public health genetics projects, including the PA Cancer Control Plan, NYMAC Regional Genetics Network, and the NSGC Public Health SIG.  She is the past Secretary/Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Association of Genetic Counselors (PAGC).    

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Minimize Director of Curriculum
Robin E. Grubs, MS, PhD, LCGC

Robin Grubs, Genetic Counseling Program, Pitt Public HealthDr. Grubs's teaching interests are in genetic counseling and clinical genetics. She is responsible for the course work for the graduate program in Genetic Counseling and lectures in genetics courses taught in the Department of Human Genetics and the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Dr. Grubs is interested in the development of genetic educational programs for health care professionals and the general public.

Dr. Grubs' research interests include decision making related to genetic testing, the psychosocial aspects of living with genetic risk, and genetic counseling service delivery models. She has published on genetic counseling education, psychosocial effects of genetic testing, and the use of qualitative methods, particularly grounded theory, in genetic counseling research.

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Minimize Genetic Counseling Program Medical Director
Damara N. Ortiz, MD

xDr. Damara Ortiz is the Medical Director of the Genetic Counseling Program, having joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Ortiz is a clinical geneticist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC where she works with patients who have a variety of complex and rare metabolic conditions. Dr. Ortiz is also currently the director of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s large lysosomal storage disorder program. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Ortiz has a strong interest in teaching. She is the director of the Medical Genetics residency training program. She has served in teaching and supervision roles since her medical genetic fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Prior to her fellowship, Dr. Ortiz completed her pediatric residency at New York University/Tisch Hospital and Bellevue Hospital and received her medical degree at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  

Genetic Counseling Program Advisory Board

The continued growth and development of the Genetic Counseling Program is guided by the rich expertise of our advisory board.

Barbara Harrison, MS, CGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Howard University College of Medicine, Alumna

Roxanne Acquaro, MS, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Genetic Counseling, Clinical Supervisor

Jessica Burke, PhD
Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Associate Dean of Education
Graduate School of Public Health
Administration, Women and Children's Health, Racial Disparities and Health Outcomes

Michele Clemens, MS, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Magee-Womens Hospital
Genetic Counseling, Clinical Supervisor

Sarah Drewes, MS, CGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Clinical Supervisor

Andrea Durst, MS, DrPH, CGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics
University of Pittsburgh
Interim Director, Genetic Counseling Program
Co-Director, MPH Public Health Genetics Program

Eleanor Feingold, PhD 
Interim Chair and Professor, Department of Human Genetics
Senior Associate Dean, Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh
Administration, Statistical and Computational Genetics

Robin Grubs, MS, PhD, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics
University of Pittsburgh
Director of Curriculum, Genetic Counseling Program

Jacqueline Hoover, MS, CGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Allegheny Health Network, Clinical Supervisor

Rachelle Huziak, MS, CGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Cancer Genetics Program
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Clinical Supervisor

Emily James, MS, CGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Invitae

Susan Lewis, MS, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Allegheny Health Network
Genetic Counseling, Clinical Supervisor

Damara Ortiz , MD
Board Certified Clinical Geneticist
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Medical Director, Genetic Counseling Program

Abby Peffer, MS, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Magee-Womens Hospital
Genetic Counseling, Clinical Supervisor

Darcy Thull, MS, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cancer Genetics Program
Genetic Counseling, Clinical Supervisor

Jodie M. Vento, MGC, LCGC
Board Certified Genetic Counselor
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics
University of Pittsburgh
Director, Genetic Counseling Program

Student Representative
Second Year Genetic Counseling Student (rotating)
University of Pittsburgh
Genetic Counseling Student