After a whirlwind year of preparing to take the American Board of Genetic Counseling’s exam (even studying on the job), Eugene Wong, MSc received an outpouring of support from the Certified Genetic Counseling community congratulating him on earning his CGC®
After graduating with a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the University of British Columbia Vancouver, Eugene embarked on his path to becoming a certified genetic counselor because the CGC credential is recognized throughout the United States and Canada. As a newly certified genetic counselor at St. Paul’s Hospital’s Heart Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Eugene’s area of focus is in cardiac genetics. He primarily sees adults with a personal and or family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – one of the most common genetic heart conditions.
“Acquiring the CGC credential provided me with the confidence to practice more autonomously, and to be recognized as an expert in genetics among my cardiology colleagues,” explains Eugene. “The cardiologists that I work with not only respect, but depend on me, to provide my genetics expertise in interpreting a patient’s genetic test result.”
Eugene’s interest in genetic counseling was driven by his desire to work in the healthcare field that allowed him to not only work with patients, but also to teach students, and conduct research to improve patient care. Additionally, he was inspired to become a certified genetic counselor after wondering how genetic counseling could have affected the decision-making for his own family members.
“My aunt living in Asia was diagnosed with unilateral breast cancer in Asia around the age of 30,” remarked Eugene. “Her young age of diagnosis raised suspicions for a hereditary form of breast cancer. Her doctor instructed her to get a bilateral mastectomy, which is a rather invasive and psychologically impactful procedure. I was left with the feeling that this decision was rather paternalistic and that my aunt could have benefited from some information being provided by a CGC. When I learned about genetic counselors and their art of balancing educational information with psychosocial support to help facilitate decision-making, that resonated well with me.”
In the year leading up to his board exams, Eugene developed a course of action that would not only prepare him for his boards, but help him apply the concepts he learned into his daily clinical practice. While studying for his exam in his full-time position at St. Paul’s Hospital, Eugene was able to practice pin pointing symptoms and characteristics of the same genetic conditions that he would study for his boards.
With the recent certification under his belt, Eugene shares his story along with some great tips and tricks for aspiring CGCs who are preparing for the certification boards. In addition to reinforcing what he learned in his daily work life, Eugene followed four major practices when preparing for his exams:
- He paced his learning process and made sure to start his test prep at least three months in advance. Additionally he recognized the importance of taking the time to study and taking the time to rest. The amount of material to review is so extensive that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
- Eugene focused on the big picture of each genetic condition he would study rather than their minute inner workings.
- Eugene found motivation in having a fellow classmate as his study partner that could reinforce his test prep strategy.
- He practiced and practiced and practiced some more. Eugene began with reviewing all of his course notes and textbooks from his Master’s program’s human genetics courses, and then utilized online practice courses and exams, including the ABGC Practice Examination for Genetic Counselors.
To learn more about Eugene Wong’s unique story to becoming a certified genetic counselor, contact him at [email protected]
For more information on the certification process
, test prep materials
, applications for the upcoming exam period
, and more visit the American Board of Genetic Counseling’s website at www.abgc.net.