SEMARANG — Coinciding with the commemoration of Genetic Counselors Awareness Day 2021 which is commemorated internationally every November 4, alumni of the Genetic Counseling Postgraduate Study Program of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine of Diponegoro University (Undip) established Indonesian Society of Genetic Counselors (ISGC). The association is a forum for genetic counselors to share knowledge and experiences related to their profession.

One of the initiators of ISGC, Prof. dr. Sultana MH Faradz, Ph.D, was trusted as the first ISGC President, while dr. Muflihatul Muniroh, M.Si.Med, Ph.D is trusted as Vice President of ISGC. In addition to management, the association also has legality as a legal entity.

ISGC President, Prof. dr. Sultana MH Faradz, Ph.D, stated that currently the number of members who join this association is about 90 people. “Our members are spread all over Indonesia. Most of them are alumni of Genetic Counseling Study Program of Faculty of Medicine Undip,” said Prof. dr. Sultana to the PR team, on Friday (11/5/2021).

According to her, the momentum for the establishment of ISGC was held to coincide with the commemoration of Genetic Counselors Awareness Day (GCAD) 2021. She explained that this association was very important because it could become a forum for fellow professions to coordinate and cooperate with each other, especially among genetic counselors in Indonesia.

“Hopefully in the future genetic counselors will get recognition from government as part of health services. Now it has started its duty as health services because of the need in the genomic era where diagnosis is based on genomes or DNA,” she said.

It was stated that Undip Genetic Counseling Postgraduate Study Program was the first established in Southeast Asia. The study program was established in 2006, then followed by the establishment of similar study programs in Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia. Therefore, the presence of ISGC is expected to provide benefits to the wider community, because genetic counselors are a very important profession and are needed in providing counseling services on genetic diseases to patients and families.

ISGC Vice President, dr. Muflihatul Muniroh, M.Si.Med, Ph.D, added that the purpose of establishing ISGC is also to increase public knowledge about the role of the genetic counselor profession in the world. Currently, a good knowledge and understanding of the genetic disease, the pattern of genetic disorders, the risk of recurrence in the family, the steps for diagnosis, treatment, and therapy methods for patients and families, is still poorly understood by the public. With the presence of ISGC, it is hoped that a better understanding can be gained by people so it becomes the basis for patients and families to take steps forward.

“We hope that in the future the genetic counselors in Indonesia will be able to provide greater benefits and roles for the community, especially patients and families with genetic diseases,” hoped dr. Liha, Muflihatul Muniroh’s familiar greeting.

Regarding the commemoration of Genetic Counselors Awareness Day 2021, genetic counselors created short video content about the genetic counselor profession together using the hashtags #Iamageneticcounselor (international hashtag), #ANZgeneticcounselling, #gcchat, #GCAwarenessDay. The content is expected to be a good start to understand the role of genetic counselors. (PR team)