Nanor Haladjian, MS, CGC is a newly Certified Genetic Counselor specializing in cancer genetics at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, California. Nanor has a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from the University of California (UCLA) and received her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from California State University, Stanislaus (CSUS) in June 2019.
Nanor became a Certified Genetic Counselor following her interest in clinical genetics and her participation in the Genetic Counseling Student Interest Group at UCLA. She chose to pursue a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling at CSUS due to its diverse student body and how their different life experiences added to the program. Her graduate training allowed her to rotate from one specialization to the next and experience various aspects of genetic counseling and genetic healthcare. Throughout her experience at CSUS’s collaborative program, she shadowed and interned with professionals in the field while working with patients.
As Nanor prepared for the board exam, her journey through the certification process consisted of virtual study groups and a compilation of study material. She focused on one subject per week; having classmates to bounce questions off each other was very helpful. Nanor recommends others enjoy graduation and relish in it.
Becoming an ABGC Diplomate has allowed Nanor to takes ownership of her title as a healthcare professional. “Institutions respect the certification. Working in cancer genetics is very rewarding. Patients don’t have control of their diagnosis so you are able to provide additional information and give them a sense of control,” Nanor says.
Moreover, Nanor has had a positive experience working as a Certified Genetic Counselor at Cedars-Sinai. She completed an internship prior to working at Cedars-Sinai and enjoyed shadowing other genetic counselors there. She observed the growth of the genetics department, which she believes is indicative of how the field is evolving.
When asked about the future of genetic counseling, Nanor believes the general public will have access to wider services. She also believes genetic testing will be available to a more diverse audience and more available overall. “Genetic counselors play an important role in genetic testing and counseling services. We will continue supporting patients as our audiences grow.”