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so this is how programs get started…

i spoke with the chair of obstetrics/gynecology today after recommendation from our medical director regarding a longstanding exchange our institution has with medicine in Ghana. i initially set out to explore what potential rotation i could pursue in Ghana along with the medical students who are travelling there this summer, perhaps in screening practices, risk communications, or birth defects. i’d assumed that there was little to no genetics infrastructure…

so the meeting went something like this: i walked in and gave the little blurb about who i am and my background. he immediately begins saying that there are many interesting opportunities, and more importantly, the head of obstetrics at the university of ghana is visiting us in july to learn and then to head a maternal-fetal-medicine unit (the first one in ghana) at the university of ghana. he continued that the greatest extent of any type of genetics-associated prenatal issues were ultrasound screenings, and that AFP screening is unlikely given that reliable labs would be difficult to develop, but that ultrasound assessments could be developed and have conversations about genetic conditions communicated to the populations. there were no genetics education sites, but that he would be very excited to see me develop and work with this physician from ghana to develop the basis for a policy introducing genetic counseling services, via existing schools of public health in the country and their departments of health behavior and health education. an extensive literature review regarding how other low-income countries have developed nascent genetics programs would of course be a valuable and publishable precursor to the development of such a program.

right. and then i’d go ahead and save the world.

overwhelmed and unable to express that i was the least likely to be qualified in such a project and it was mostly inappropriate for this stage of my training, i approached my director, who gave me some good guidance on how to diffuse the situation so that i wasn’t coming out disappointing some powerful people. she did mention that this perhaps would be more appropriate for someone like a genetic counseling program director to develop 😉

so there goes the ghana idea. thanks, but no thanks. as amazing as such a process might be, i am wholly unqualified to help develop the basis for genetics infrastructure in Ghana.

however, you do have to find it slightly amusing.

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