Thursday, April 27, 2023
ABGC’s Continuing Competence Committee formed in 2022 as the next stage in ABGC’s process of evaluating and improving recertification — a process that began in 2019 with the Continuing Competency Task Force. Claire Davis, EdD, MS, CGC, and Sharon Aufox, MS, CGC, serve as the committee’s co-chairs, and they’re excited for the committee’s role in strengthening genetic counseling’s future.
As in nearly every other area of healthcare, the practice of genetic counseling is continually changing and adapting. The committee was formed to explore what these changes and growth in practice should mean for continuing competence and board certification. With advancements in genetics and growth in practice, ABGC wants to ensure that the CGC designation signifies competency throughout a genetic counselor’s career.
Ensuring Continuing Competency Meets Industry Standards
Over the past year, the committee has evaluated the current recertification process’s strengths and weaknesses. This evaluation has revealed ways the process could improve that will allow CGCs to maintain competency to industry standards, something CGCs, as well as their patients, deserve. The committee is currently exploring practical ways to support continuing competence (currently called recertification) for CGCs, and is planning to start a beta test soon. Additionally, the committee is aiming to begin a pilot of the new competency program in 2024.
Most genetic counselors would agree that they’ve learned a lot throughout their careers, and not just from CEUs. Realizing this, one aspect the committee is exploring is recognizing in-job learning as part of continuing competence. Another aspect they’re considering is providing CGCs opportunities to learn from how their peers would make decisions in tricky, unstandardized situations.
Sharing a Joy of Learning
Dr. Claire Davis, an educator, has an innate love of learning, and has seen this love shared by many in her profession. She’s excited that improving the recertification process will bring education to the forefront of the practice.
“I think genetic counselors are incredibly smart and dedicated professionals,” she said. “I look at my colleagues and see how driven and committed we are to always learning. This could be a way for that to be supported and celebrated.”
Claire believes changes to the process will also “strengthen evidence we have about competence beyond certification,” she said. “It’s added confidence to their own skillset, and they will know that through actual evidence.”
Although change can bring growth and improve outcomes, Claire and Sharon understand there are challenges and hesitation when changing any process. Right now, the bar is high for getting people’s attention. There are many competing priorities CGCs experience that could make it tough for them to accept that processes need to change.
That the process is happening slowly over the next couple of years should help build awareness and interest. Much consideration and research is being poured into every decision. As ABGC continues its journey of integrating principles of DEIJ, including a wide range of voices in all decision-making processes is essential. This is very true for the CCC, which benefits from collaboration and exchange of ideas among people with different perspectives and identities who work in varied specialties of genetic counseling practice. In addition to Sharon and Claire, committee members are: Lila Aiyar, Susan Armel, Jennifer Berkowitz, Tiffani Carter, Bronson Riley, Jenna Scott, and Angela Trepanier (ABGC Board Liaison).
The CCC aims to start providing more information and rolling out more details about the recertification exam changes in fall 2023.
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