Genetic Counseling Program Team

Physicians 

Erin Hofstatter, MD, Co-Director 
Xavier Llor, MD, Co-Director 
Allen Bale, MD, Scientific Director


Chief Genetic Counselor 
Karina Brierley, MS, LCGC

Karina’s training, experience, and interests have broadly centered on genetics and genetic counseling for over 20 years. Her background ranges from basic science genetics laboratory work to clinical genetic counseling. Karina graduated in 2001 from the Brandeis University genetic counseling program. She has worked as a cancer genetic counselor with the Yale Cancer Genetic Counseling Program and then the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program for more than 15 years. In these roles, she has also been involved in publications and research projects regarding care of patients with hereditary cancers, adverse events in cancer genetic counseling, and the viewpoints of genetic counselors and other providers regarding the decisions faced by patients with hereditary cancer. In 2014, she took on a senior leadership role as the Chief Genetic Counselor for the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program. In this role, she works with a diverse team of clinicians to provide comprehensive care to patients with hereditary cancer and to advance the research initiatives of the team.

Education
Masters of Science, Genetic Counseling
Brandeis University, 2001

Bachelor of Science Neuroscience, minor in music
Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum laude with departmental honors
Bowdoin College, 1996

Certification and Licensure
• Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2002
• Licensed practitioner, State of Connecticut
Outreach Coordinator: Claire Healy, MS, LCGC

Claire graduated in 2008 from the genetic counseling program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  She previously worked as a genetic counselor at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute until joining the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Team in 2015.  Claire is passionate about the field of genetic counseling and wants to ensure that all patients have access to genetic counseling services despite their geographic location or socioeconomic status.  She serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program and in that role is working to expand access to hereditary cancer genetic counseling services across the Yale New Haven Hospital Health System through in person consultations and telemedicine.  She enjoys the collaborative and interdisciplinary team at Yale and is proud of the care patients receive in the program.

Education
Masters of Science, Genetic Counseling
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2008

Bachelor of Science, Biology
William Smith College, 2005

Certification and Licensure
• Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2009
• Licensed practitioner, State of Connecticut
Nurse Practitioner: Susan Chmael, APRN

Practice Coordinator: Donna LaPolt

Research Coordinator: Mahin Dawood, MS

Genetic Counselors

Jessica DiGiovanna graduated in 2015 from the genetic counseling program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. While receiving her undergraduate degree, Jessica gained exposure to the field serving as the Genetic Counselor Assistant for the Yale Cancer Genetic Counseling Program. She was honored to return to Yale as one of the team’s genetic counselors upon graduation. Jessica has also enjoyed volunteering at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, providing support and resources to children with Fanconi Anemia, a genetic disease that involves bone marrow failure, physical abnormalities, organ defects, and an increased risk of certain cancers, and their families. Jessica is enthusiastic about the effect of genetic counseling on the patient experience and is motivated and committed to providing the best possible patient care. 
Jessica sees patients at the Park Avenue Medical Center satellite office in Trumbull and in the main office in New Haven. 

Education
Masters of Science, Genetic Counseling
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2015 
 
Bachelor of Arts, Psychology 
Quinnipiac University, 2013 
 
Certification and Licensure
•         Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2015
•         Licensed practitioner, State of Connecticut
Jen Doherty graduated in 1994 from the genetic counseling program at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and has been with our program since 2013.  Jen reentered the field of genetic counseling after time off to be with her family by completing a cancer genetics fellowship at Yale.  She enjoys being part of a dynamic team that provides genetic counseling services to a diverse population.   
 
Education
Masters of Science, Human Genetics 
Sarah Lawrence College, 1994

Bachelor of Science, Biology and Philosophy
Binghamton University, 1992

Certification and Licensure
•         Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling
•         Licensed practitioner- State of Connecticut

Colleen Dougherty graduated in 1991 from the genetic counseling program at the University of California at Berkeley.  She has past experience in adult connective tissue diseases, prenatal diagnosis and as Director of the Northwestern University genetic counseling training program.  Prior to coming to Yale, Colleen took several years off while living abroad with her family.  Colleen is excited to be back working in genetic counseling as a part of a multi-faceted cancer genetics program.

Colleen works three days a week at the Greenwich Hospital satellite office of the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program.

Education
Masters of Science, Genetic Counseling
University of California at Berkeley, 1991

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
University of Notre Dame, 1989

Certification and Licensure
• Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 1993
• Licensed practitioner- State of Connecticut

Jessamyn Nazario graduated in 2014 from the genetic counseling program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  Prior to moving to Connecticut, she worked as a cancer genetic counselor at Invision Sally Jobe, a radiology imaging company in Denver, CO. There she educated families about their cancer risks, coordinated adequate genetic testing, and discussed individualized management while incorporating education about different breast cancer screening modalities available to patients based on their breast cancer risks and breast tissue density.
As a Puerto Rican native, Jessamyn uses her cultural and language skills to help provide services to a diverse patient population. Jessamyn began exploring the genetic counseling career by interning with several genetic counselors in Miami, Florida soon after graduating college. Afterwards, prior to beginning graduate school, she volunteered in Bolivia, working in an orphanage for underserved children battling severe medical and intellectual disabilities. Jessamyn is passionate about supporting her patients, educating families about cancer risks, and assisting in individualized management plans. 

Jessamyn works at the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT. 

Education
Masters of Science
Genetic Counseling, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 2014
 
Bachelor of Science
Biology, Minor in Chemistry
University of Miami, 2011
 
Certification and Licensure
•         Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2014
•         Licensed practitioner- State of Connecticut
Amanda Ganzak, MS, LCGC
Cassandra Gulden graduated in 2006 from the genetic counseling program at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to moving to Connecticut, she worked as a cancer genetic counselor at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation and University of Chicago Medical Center. While at the University of Chicago, Cassandra focused on creating and building up a hereditary gastrointestinal clinic and was also a rotation supervisor and thesis mentor for students in the Northwestern Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling. She joined the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention team in 2015 and is excited to continue cancer genetic counseling within a multi-disciplinary group.

Education
Masters of Science
Genetic Counseling, Case Western Reserve University, 2006

Bachelor of Science
Biology, Minor in Psychology Susquehanna University, 2001

Certification and Licensure
• Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2007, re-certified 2017
• Licensed practitioner, State of Connecticut
Amy Killie graduated in 2017 from the genetic counseling program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In addition to her training as a genetic counselor, Amy has volunteered for IMAlive.org, an online crisis hotline, for over three years where she has training in crisis intervention. Amy is passionate about the benefits of genetic testing and how this information can be used by individuals and their families to make the best decisions for their health. As a Connecticut native, Amy is proud to be a part of the multidisciplinary team at the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program.

Education
Masters of Science
Genetic Counseling, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2017

Bachelor of Science
Zoology, State University of New York at Oswego, 2014

Certification and Licensure
• Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2017
• Licensed practitioner- State of Connecticut