HGSA Newsletter  |  26 October 2016

Job opportunity – SA Pathology – Associate Genetic Counsellor


Indicative Total Remuneration: $64,978 – $79,604 – AHP1; $83,975 – $97,090 – AHP2 (pro rata) – Temp P/T (up to 28 Jul 2017)

This is a rare opportunity to work in a progressive and challenging health environment where drive, initiative, and a strong work ethic is highly valued. Seeking an experienced Genetic Counsellor, you will provide support services for the recruitment of Australian Genomics Health Alliance eligible patients into the research program, as well as contribute to genetic counselling of these patients and their families. This includes appropriate file preparation, documenting the pedigree (as necessary), consenting of patients, coordination of sample collection, identifying genetic counselling and psychosocial needs of clients, timely documentation of genetic counselling activities in the medical file and study database and appropriate practical and psychosocial follow up of clients. Furthermore, your role will encompass delivery of educational activities to a broad range of audiences including patient groups and health professionals.

With a successful background working with children and national police clearance, you will be a member of Human Genetics Society of Australasia and Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors. To be considered at the AHP1 level, you must possess a Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling, and be ready for consideration for Board Eligible status in Genetic Counselling as required by the Board of Censors for Genetic Counselling, Human Genetics Society of Australasia. To be considered at the AHP2 level, you will hold a two year clinical Masters in Genetic Counselling (or a Graduate Diploma awarded prior to 2015 or a one-year Masters and at least two years full-time equivalent experience as a genetic counsellor within a clinical genetics unit) With the ability to work as a sole practitioner and as part of a multidisciplinary team, you will bring to the table broad knowledge and understanding of genetic counselling, including medical, genetic and psychosocial aspects.

Appointment will be subject to a satisfactory Criminal History Check.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants are encouraged to apply. Job Ref: 601503.

Further information is available on the SA Health careers website at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/careers – see Career Information, or contact Anne Baxendale, Senior Genetic Counsellor, anne.baxendale@sa.gov.au

Applications close: 04 November 2016

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Job opportunity – SA Pathology, SA  – Project Officer


Indicative Total Remuneration: $81,494 – $91,181 (pro rata) – Temp P/T (up to 12 months) – ASO5

This is an exceptional opportunity to join SA Pathology, contributing towards innovation in a diverse and rapidly evolving area in clinical practise and diagnostic investigative pathology. Under supervision, you will work as a Project Officer, responsible for coordinating the activities of the AGHA Program One in the state. A hands-on role where you will be interacting closely with the AGHA state Program 1 lead, AGHA state flagship leads, local clinicians, diagnosticians and research staff, and with the national coordination team, you will assist with detailed, accurate information/data collection and report development for programs of work undertaken by the AGHA. Your duties will also include monitoring and managing processes to ensure all funding obligations and ethical guidelines are met, assisting in the coordination of state meetings, workshops and committees, as well as supporting research activities as required, such as maintaining trial records, and developing methods for the analysis of data.

To be considered for this role, you must have a tertiary qualification in science or related discipline or an appropriate level of expertise gained from a combination of experience, training or professional accreditation. With previous research and administrative experience, you will bring excellent attention to detail, well-developed organisational, written and verbal communications skills and demonstrated ability to set priorities and meet deadlines. Direct experience in data handling and collection is essential, as is the proven ability to work independently and show initiative. Proficiency in a range of computing skills will also be required.

Appointment will be subject to a satisfactory Criminal History Check.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants are encouraged to apply. Job Ref: 601100.

Further information is available on the SA Health careers website at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/careers – see Career Information, or contact Professor Hamish Scott,hamish.scott@sa.gov.au

Applications close: 04 November 2016

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Job opportunity – Clinical Geneticist – Sydney Children’s Hospital, NSW


A position is available for a Clinical Geneticist at Sydney Children’s Hospital. The advertisement can be found HERE.

The position involves components at Sydney Children’s Hospital (0.5FTE), St George Hospital (0.3FTE) and the Royal Hospital for Women (0.2FTE) – RHW is on the same campus as SCH. This is an exciting time to become a member of our team, for a number of reasons – if interested and looking for details, please contact David Mowat (david.mowat@health.nsw.gov.au) or Edwin Kirk (edwin.kirk@health.nsw.gov.au); either can also be reached on (02) 9382 1708.

Applications close: 09 November 2016

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Future of the profession of Genetic Counsellor – an update


As a result of the changing landscape of genetic counseling numerous discussions are occurring amongst genetic counsellors regarding the future of the profession. At the HGSA ASM in Hobart in August this year a number of more formal conversations took place about the future direction of the profession. This encompassed clarification about registration, which is not available for genetic counsellors (or any other professions) and MBS item numbers. Workforce matters were also discussed with Clara Gaff presenting data on the evolution of the profession of genetic counsellor in the USA and UK.

Diversity in roles, professional titles and how the profession can be inclusive are important matters to be considered. It is timely to reflect on the future particularly for genetic counsellors who work in private practice, laboratories, research and academia. Two documents have recently been produced by the ASGC considering the future of the profession i.e. working in private practice and the role of intake assistants.

In addition, a recent workforce survey, conducted in NSW by the SAX Institute has summarized the following:

Much of the evidence of the numerous current and future challenges facing the genetic counselling workforce documented in this review is international. It is clear that the developments over the past 10 years in genetic and genomic technologies are driving changes in international clinical practice. It is expected that NSW genetic counsellors are, and will be, facing similar challenges.

The evidence has shown that the current Australian system of training and certification for genetic counsellors is of high academic rigor. It is workplace competencies based and assessed, and is internationally benchmarked. However, this review has also documented many barriers and limitations to growing a fully qualified workforce. These limitations include: the small cohorts of Masters graduates generated annually, the requirement to be employed in a setting that can meet the HGSA guidelines to undertake the full certification, and limited employment opportunities.

While employment settings are currently largely in the public sector, private-sector employment opportunities could enable growth of the Australian genetic counsellor workforce. However, these opportunities are limited by the lack of registration of the profession and associated remuneration issues.

The current workforce is small but of increasing importance in ethically delivering the benefits of faster and cheaper genetic and genomic tests to the NSW population. The workforce provides appropriate support to enable informed decision making and adaptation to the impact of the familial results. It is essential for workforce planning to not only investigate the current roles and scope of practice of the NSW genetic counselling workforce in the era of genomics and how the many challenges are being addressed, but also to plan for and support their training, wider roles and scope of practice. [1]

In June 2016 a working party was established under the auspices of the HGSA to explore these matters further. The members of the working party include Jennifer Berkman (Chairperson HGSA BOC in GC), Alison McEwen (former chair of ASGC and NZ rep), Ivan Maccoccia (current chair of ASGC), Clara Gaff (considerable overseas experience and knowledge) and Mary-Anne Young (President HGSA).

There are a number of issues we are considering and which we will seek input from ASGC members.

Issues such as

1.     Becoming a self-regulated profession

2.     Ways for FHGSA to become available to genetic counsellors who work in non-clinical roles e.g. research, academic

3.     National workforce survey (in preparation through AGHA) that includes questions about future roles and will be distributed through the ASGC

4.     Professional titles


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Women’s Leadership Development Scholarships


Dear HGSA members,

Opportunities remain available for women in the Australian Health sector to access up to $8,000 in scholarship funding to assist them to participate in a number of the country’s premier women’s development programs. The initiative is part of a nationwide push to support and elevate women leaders throughout the Health sector.

To ensure equitable distribution of scholarships throughout the sector, it is appropriate that the information is disseminated by a respected organisations and associations in collaboration with Women and Leadership Australia. Due to an unprecedented response from the sector already, we are urging you to ensure your key stakeholders are apprised of this opportunity soon, before scholarship funding is exhausted.

Scholarships are available to women at three key management levels:

Please note: WLA programs are highly exclusive developmental experiences and admission into these programs requires successful application. Annual intakes are limited.

To make a scholarship enquiry

Attached to this email is an Expression of Interest form which can also be downloaded here. Please note: Following submission of your expression of interest form a WLA scholarship advisor will make contact to provide further information.

Should you wish to discuss the initiative in more detail please contact Ian Johnson at Women and Leadership Australia’s Head Office on 03 9270 9016  or via ijohnson@wla.edu.au

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