McEwen appointed VP of Human Genetics Society of Australasia
Associate Professor Alison McEwen has been appointed as the next Vice President of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia.
Associate Professor Alison McEwen, Head of Genetic Counselling at the Graduate School of Health, has been appointed as Vice President of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA).
Alison will be the second genetic counsellor to take on this role, highlighting the importance of this appointment for the profession.
“It is so important that we have senior leadership and a voice for the genetic counselling profession within the Society and the international human genetics community, as it gives us an opportunity to have input into critical discussions at a political and policy level,” says Associate Professor McEwen.
Having the voices of genetic counsellors at the highest levels in the society ensures we are influencing and shaping decisions that impact our future and optimise patient care.
Alison brings 20 years of experience within the profession to the role; both as a genetic counsellor and within leadership at the HGSA and the Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors, particularly focusing on the education and certification of genetic counsellors.
Genetic counsellors are embarking on another big change as they implement professional regulation under the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) standards and procedures.
“I was a member of the HGSA Professional Issues for Genetic Counsellors Working Group that was chaired by Mary-Anne Young and worked for almost 18 months putting together the application to become self-regulated against NASRHP’s 11 standards. Our application was successful and now a new committee of genetic counsellors are overseeing implementation of regulation, which starts in October this year,”
“The HGSA executive has provided significant support and encouragement regarding regulation. Part of this has been identifying the importance of having genetic counsellors represented in the leadership of the Society, which resulted in the nomination for Vice President.”
On Alison’s appointment, HGSA President Vanessa Tyrrell said she was delighted to have Alison take on the role:
Alison’s contributions to the HGSA have been extensive over a number of years, most recently as part of the extensive work to prepare Genetic Counsellors to become a regulated profession. I am delighted as I can’t think of a better time or person than Alison to take on the role of Vice President of the HGSA as implementation to achieve full National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) membership commences.
UTS are educating the next generation of genetic counsellors; encouraging forward-thinking and adaptability in the changing world of genetics and genomics.
Associate Professor McEwen believes the role will highlight the importance of counselling and supporting clients, the ability of genetic counsellors to lead the way in shaping the future of healthcare and the opportunities available for genetic counsellors.
“The students will know that the voice of genetic counsellors will be present at a national and international level, raising the profile of Australasian genetic counsellors on the global stage.”
HGSA has been the peak body for people working in the area of human genetics in Australia and Aoteaora New Zealand since 1977.
Membership includes genetic counsellors, medical geneticists, and scientists, along with people involved in genetics education and ethical, legal and social issues. There are currently over 1000 members (including approximately 300 genetic counsellors).
Associate Professor McEwen will take on the role for two years before transitioning to President in 2021.