As a certified genetic counselor at the Adapt Clinic within the Provincial Medical Genetics Program at British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, Angela Inglis, MSc, CCGC, CGC counsels patients who have a personal and/or family history of mental illness. Specifically, Angela sees families affected by common complex disorders like bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
Angela’s motivation to become a Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC) not only stems from helping underserved patients within the mental illness spectrum, but also from a desire to teach.
“I chose to become a certified genetic counselor through both the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and the Canadian Board of Genetic Counseling because I found it important to be able to work in both countries. Certification gave me the opportunity to teach a wider range of students about psychiatric genetic counseling,” explains Angela.
Angela is also a clinical associate professor for the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry. A graduate with an MSc in Genetic Counseling from the University of British Columbia, Angela has specialized in psychiatric genetics for almost 10 years.
Angela’s journey began when she worked with fellow CGC Dr. Jehannine Austin as a volunteer and later during her studies and as a practicing genetic counselor. During her first encounters with genetic counseling, Angela discovered a lot about psychiatric genetic counseling and how important it is for people to have access to this service. Most importantly, Angela was able to speak with patients face-to-face to help them understand their diagnosis and the next steps they can take to confidently manage their disorder.
Through her faculty appointment at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry, Angela teaches genetic counseling students how to educate and clarify information for their patients who are managing common complex genetic disorders. Additionally, Angela gives her students the confidence they need to facilitate a genetic consultation from start to finish.
“On top of supervising clinical rotations with the UBC genetic counseling students, one of the things we do is host a four-week summer internship for genetic counseling students from around the world. This year we have students from the United Kingdom and the United States,” said Angela. “They gain the confidence to lead a full clinical consultation. And interestingly, they challenge me to reflect on the rationale behind processes I have instituted while practicing psychiatric genetic counseling.”
“One in five people will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. This statistic alone doesn’t even begin to capture the impact that it has on families,” explains Angela. “Because this is such an underserved population, seeing how valuable this resource was to families made me want to teach as many genetic counseling students as possible about the importance of certified genetic counseling in managing mental health.”
Because the Adapt Clinic is the only specialist genetic counseling clinic of its kind, Angela believes that teaching students about their role in assisting with mental health disorders, the importance of incorporating it into their own ongoing practice and collaborating with other health care professionals and related organizations, like the National Alliance of Mental Illness in the U.S., is key to the success of their future as a certified genetic counselor.
To learn more about Angela Inglis and psychiatric genetic counseling, feel free to contact her at [email protected]