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Dr. Grubs is Director of the Genetic Counseling Program. Her 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. She serves as the Genetic Counseling Program coordinator for the clinical rotations sites at several hospitals located in the Pittsburgh area. 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.
Dr. 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 currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Association of Genetic Counselors (PAGC).
Dr. 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 interim 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.
The continued growth and development of the Genetic Counseling Program is guided by the rich expertise of our advisory board.