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
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
Rebecca Leshay graduated in 2016 from the genetic counseling program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Rebecca has always been passionate about teaching and education. She loves that being a genetic counselor gives her the opportunity to teach patients and providers, and welcomes student questions. Rebecca enjoys working within the interdisciplinary team at Yale, and believes that the team approach provides a great benefit to the patients.
 
Rebecca sees patients at the St. Francis Hospital satellite office of the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program.
 
Education
Masters of Science, Genetic Counseling
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2016
 
Bachelor of Science, Biology
Bucknell University, 2014

Certification and Licensure
•         Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2016
•         Licensed practitioner, State of Connecticut
Michelle Ning graduated in 2016 from the genetic counseling program at Sarah Lawrence College.  She has experience working with a diverse patient population and is passionate about cultural competency in the context of health care. Prior to this role, Michelle worked in community management, with a focus on facilitating knowledge exchange within and across oncology disciplines.  Her current role is in cancer genetic counseling and she enjoys working in a comprehensive cancer center.

Education
Masters of Science, Genetic Counseling, 
Sarah Lawrence College, 2016
 
Bachelor of Science, Cell biology and genetics, 
Minor concentration in commerce
University of British Columbia, 2013
 
Certification and Licensure
•         Board-Certified, American Board of Genetic Counseling, 2016
•         Licensed practitioner- State of Connecticut

Cassandra Gulden
Amy Killie