Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS LCGC is a pioneer in the crossroads of genealogy testing and genetic counseling. She is the founder and president of Watershed DNA, an online telegenetics clinic specializing in ancestry and direct-to-consumer genetics.
Her initial interest in genealogy sparked in 2013 after delving into her own family history. Brianne’s grandmother, though raised by relatives, maintained little to no connection with her biological parents. With a lack of knowledge about her grandmother’s medical history and a personal quest to expand her family tree, Brianne soon discovered how much genetic counseling could help her and others seeking more information on their family history.
Brianne has spent the past five years researching the benefits of genealogy genetics through Facebook forums and genealogists alike. Brianne realized that there was a specific group of patients with common questions that she could address given her expertise as a certified genetic counselor: adoptees.
"I recognized adoptees as inherently disadvantaged because of their lack of access to medical history and family records," said Brianne.
From this experience she wrote her first book on ancestry genetics with co-author, genealogist and friend Shannon Combs-Bennett. "I met Shannon at an advanced training course for genealogists," exclaimed Brianne. “After realizing that we both had complimentary skills and an interest in educating adoptees and patients alike, Shannon invited me to co-write her second book, The DNA Guide for Adoptees.”
With the recent launch of her book, Brianne aims to provide an important perspective on genetic counseling not only to patients, but she hopes to educate fellow CGCs about broadening the spectrum of genetic counseling applications. With this book, adoptees and researchers alike will understand that each test is meant to give insight to certain questions and there is no one size fits all equation for discussing DNA testing.
"My number one goal is to increase awareness of what genetic counselors are, what they do and how to find one," explained Brianne. "Not only do I want to educate patients, but better prepare certified genetic couselors for questions that stem from adoption-related questions and questions that are arising from the popularity of direct-to-consumer testing."
For more information on Brianne Kirkpatrick’s practice and expertise as well as her book The DNA Guide for Adoptees, feel free to contact her at [email protected]
or visit her website at https://www.watersheddna.com/.