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NSGC Digital Ambassador Program

In 2018, NSGC launched an exciting digital program to connect a group of individuals in the genetics field who work together to help raise awareness about the role of genetic counselors and promote their shared interest among their networks. The program currently has 15 influencers who have unique perspectives and knowledge in the fields of genetics and genetic counseling and asked them to become official ambassadors of the profession.

More information about this year’s class of Digital Ambassadors is below. Follow these social media influencers and the #NSGCGenePool hashtag on Twitter to contribute to the conversation on genetics and the genetic counseling profession.

NSGC Digital Ambassadors - Class of 2020
We will update this information as it’s available

Amy Byer Shainman

Amy Byer Shainman, known as The BRCA Responder, is a passionate advocate for those with BRCA and other hereditary cancer syndromes; providing education, resources, and direct one to one support. In her advocacy efforts, Shainman emphasizes the importance of genetic counseling in the genetic testing equation. Shainman is the executive producer of the award-winning documentary Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer, the creator of #HereditaryCancerNews and the co-creator of #GenCSM - Genetic Cancer Social Media. Her BRCA/hereditary cancer memoir Resurrection Lily will be out at the end of 2017.

Bonnie Rochman

Bonnie Rochman is an award-winning journalist who writes about the intersection of parenting, pediatrics and health. “The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids — And the Kids We Have” is her first book and was inspired by a cover story she wrote for Time magazine about sequencing children’s genomes. A former health and parenting columnist for Time, she has written for publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and MIT Technology Review. She began her career in Jerusalem for The Boston Globe, writing about Arab-Israeli cooperation vis a vis car theft and ultra-Orthodox fashion models, and covering the death beat at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where she crafted feature obituaries of ordinary people who had died. She lives in Seattle, which serves as a base from which to explore the peaks of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children.

Brianne Kirkpatrick

Brianne is a licensed and certified genetic counselor, writer, and founder of Watershed DNA, which offers online support, educational books and courses, and custom consultations for clients with unexpected DNA test results. In addition, Brianne speaks to members of the media as NSGC’s Ancestry Expert. She is active in the world of genetic genealogy both personally and professionally and frequently speaks, writes, and blogs on the topic.

Christina Lizaso

Christina is a community engagement professional who utilizes her background in nonprofit and volunteer management to empower patients and strengthen the patient voice. She is a CHEK2 previvor whose passion for this work has been driven by her own strong family history of cancer. Christina is the co-founder and co-moderator of the #gyncsm community for gynecologic cancer.

Dave Dubin

David Dubin is a three-time cancer survivor and patient with Lynch Syndrome. David is also the founder of AliveAndKickn, a patient-centered nonprofit organization dedicated to education, advocacy, and research of Lynch Syndrome and its associated cancers including colorectal, endometrial and others. In a professional capacity, he works as a Senior Director for the Sema4 Genomics, a Mount Sinai Venture. In this capacity, David is helping the institution to further its personalized medicine goals and objectives. David truly is AliveAndKickn.

Dee Sparacio

Dee is an ovarian cancer survivor, research advocate and co-founder of the #gyncsm community for gynecologic cancer. Shortly after her initial diagnosis, Dee met with a genetic counselor to discuss testing. She was tested, and later took part in a precision medicine trial during which her tumor tissue underwent Next Generation Sequencing. She looks forward to highlighting the important role genetic counselors play in a cancer patient's healthcare.

Deepti Babu (she/her/hers)

Deepti is a certified genetic counselor with a passion for writing and creativity. During her 20 years practicing in the clinic, Deepti noticed a growing need for genetics expertise in content that clinicians, patients, and consumers use. She recently founded Integrity Content Consulting, where she aims to make genetics and medicine accessible to writing and editing work. Deepti is active in the genetic counseling communities of Canada and the U.S., serving previously on NSGC’s Board of Directors and currently as the host of NSGC’s Genetic Counselors and You podcast series. Her best days are spent crafting meals for her family and debating comic book universes with her husband and sons.

Dena Goldberg


Dena Goldberg is a genetic counselor living in Los Angeles, with a dream of bringing genetic counseling to mainstream media and becoming the first TV genetic counselor. She previously served as a clinical cancer counselor at University of California San Francisco. She is the founder of, a website with a mission to spread awareness of medical genetics and its services to the general public through media and marketing techniques not typically used by the medical community. Dena has created several successful social media campaigns including one featuring Genetic Counselor Awareness Day shirts and another with H.R. 3235 buttons. She has a special interest in genetic diseases common in Jewish populations, chromosome 18 anomalies and gastrointestinal cancer syndromes.

Ellen Matloff
@ MyGeneCounsel

Ellen is a certified genetic counselor and the CEO of My Gene Counsel, a digital genetic counseling company that launched a direct-to-consumer BRCA product in the summer of 2018. She served as the Founder and Director of the Yale Cancer Genetic Counseling Program for 18 years, was a plaintiff in the 2013 SCOTUS BRCA gene patent case and has authored dozens of publications on genetic counseling and testing. Ellen is a co-creator of #GenCSM - Genetic Cancer Social Media, which hosts popular twitter chats.  She is also the contributor on genetic counseling, testing and digital health.

Emily Fassi

Emily is a genetic counselor currently working in clinical cancer genetics at in Boise, Idaho. She also works with Face2Gene on a project related to deep patient phenotyping. Emily has performed research surrounding a variety of rare genetic conditions, especially CHARGE syndrome. Emily believes that medical genetics has the ability to improve our lives and loves being a part of the genetic counselor community.


Jehannine Austin


Jehannine is a genetic counselor and researcher. Austin has a PhD in neuropsychiatric genetics and specializes in psychiatric disorders. She is fascinated by how genetic counseling can empower people by helping them to make personal meaning for themselves out of genetic information. Her research involves finding ways to improve that process. Austin is a Past President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and NSGC’s Psychiatric Disorders Expert.

Kira Dineen

Kira hosts a genetics radio show and podcast, DNA Today, where she interviews genetic counselors, patient advocates and other genetic experts. Her show was founded in 2012 and features over 80 episodes. She is the Communications Lead at My Gene Counsel, a digital genetic counseling company, and is in Sarah Lawrence's Genetic Counseling Class of 2020. 

Lisa Guzzardi

Lisa is a patient advocate and curator of a private global journal club dedicated to providing the most up to date research and discussions for nearly 3,000 consumers at risk for hereditary cancers and renown clinicians. Her club includes everything and anything related to, but not limited to, genetics and genetic testing. By doing so, they have taken social media medicine to new heights.

Marleah Kruzel

Marleah Dean Kruzel, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of South Florida. She’s also a collaborator-member in the Health Outcomes & Behavior Program at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Dean Kruzel’s research investigates how communication can improve health outcomes. More specifically, her work examines how patients, families and healthcare providers exchange information, manage uncertainty and make decisions regarding issues of hereditary cancer and genetic risk.  A BRCA2-positive patient herself, Dr. Dean Kruzel is committed to using her research to improve the lives of patients. To this end, she participated in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Bring Your Brave” social media campaign designed to educate and inspire young women regarding breast cancer risk. Her most recent research project, in collaboration with Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), seeks to provide credible, evidence-based information and supportive services for young women with breast cancer, their caregivers, community health workers and healthcare providers.

Dr. Muin Khoury

Dr. Khoury is the founding director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Genomics. CDC’s Office of Public Health Genomics serves as the national focus for integrating genomics into public health research and programs for disease prevention and health promotion. Dr. Khoury has developed a number of successful ongoing national and international initiatives to translate advances in genomics and related technologies to recommendations and actions that improve health and prevent disease throughout the life stages. Since 2007, he has also served the National Cancer Institute as senior advisor in public health genomics in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. Between 2011 and 2015 he led the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in the same Division. Learn more about Muin here.

Scott Weissman

Scott is the founder of Chicago Genetic Consultants, LLC, a private genetic counseling practice offering genetic counseling and testing for adult onset disorders.  He also works as a genetic counselor within the Aurora Health Care system focusing on hereditary cancer syndromes.  His primary focus has been hereditary cancer syndromes but also worked with individuals who had hereditary cardiac disease, neurologic conditions as well as a multitude of other adult onset genetic conditions and the burgeoning area of pharmacogenomics. He also has experience with new genetic testing technologies and Next Generation Sequencing from his time with GeneDx, a clinical genetic testing company.  Scott had a faculty appointment as an Instructor of Clinical Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and is currently a Clinical Faculty member at the Northwestern University Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling. He has been an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) where he has worked on a variety of committees and held positions as the Co-Chair of the Familial Cancer Risk Special Interest Group and Liaison to both the Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program of Breast Centers, two programs housed in the American College of Surgeons.