International Society
of Nurses in Genetics

Dedicated to fostering the scientific and professional growth of nurses in human genetics and genomics worldwide.
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meet our members 

Click here  for more information on these members.

2020: Year of the Nurse & Midwife

The World Health Organization has designated the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of the 200th birthday of British nurse, statistician, and social reformer, Florence Nightingale. In support of this campaign and a celebration of nurses and midwives worldwide, the ISONG Global Membership Committee will be featuring monthly interviews with various members of our community.

Dr. Emma Tonkin

Emma is an Associate Professor in Genomic Healthcare at the University of South Wales. In addition to her involvement in ISONG, Emma is also a founding member of the Global Genomics Nursing Alliance (G2NA). Early in her career, Emma worked as a research scientist in human genetics focused on molecular biology, gene mapping, and identification. With her group at Newcastle University, she identified the first gene associated with Cornelia de Lange syndrome. Emma also worked with the UK Cornelia de Lange patient group helping families understand the potential implications related to the identification of genes associated with the syndrome. Of her work with patients, Emma says, “I heard time and time again from parents about the challenges they faced in getting a diagnosis or accessing knowledgeable care for their child because the condition is so rare.” Her experience with the patient group led Emma to switch gears to focus on genetic and genomic education. In 2005, she joined the Genomics Policy Unit at the University of South Wales.

Click here to read the entire interview.

Katie Edwards

Dr. Katie Edwards is a Registered Nurse and Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Nursing Research and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. Prior to nursing school, Katie completed a degree in biology and volunteered her time working with patients rehabilitating from traumatic injuries. This positive and rewarding experience was an important factor in her motivation to pursue a nursing degree. Following graduation from nursing school, Katie’s first nursing position was in a neurotrauma ICU. In the ICU, Katie observed that patients with similar injuries and demographics could have very different outcomes. Because of her biology background, she was aware that genetic and genomic variability could be contributing to the differences in her patients’ outcomes, as well as environmental and health-related factors. This experience motivated her to return to graduate school to obtain her PhD in nursing while studying traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

Click here to read the entire interview.

Susan Fernbach

Susan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and an active member of ISONG. As is the case with many members of our community, Susan did not take a direct path to nursing. Her early plans consisted of pursuing an academic career in her first degree, Spanish. After conversations with a friend about the multiple opportunities in nursing, she decided to change paths. Her background in the Spanish language has been an asset to her throughout her career. In the hospital, Susan communicates with patients and families daily in Spanish and has gained a deeper understanding of the language and culture. In addition, since 2001, Susan has been involved with a medical mission organization in Guatemala and has served on the Board of Directors for eight years. As far as ISONG goes, Susan has served as a leader within the organization as part of the Education, Nominating, and Global Membership Committees. When asked about ISONG, Susan says, “ISONG is a tiny gem of an organization and I speak about ISONG and careers in genetic and genomic nursing at every opportunity!”  Susan adds, “I wish there was a greater understanding of ISONG as an inclusive organization with members who have extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of care, education, and research regarding genetic and genomic health. ISONG is an incredible resource for each of us.” 

Click here to read the entire interview.


Noopur Swadas

Noopur is a 3rd year undergraduate nursing student at the University of Calgary in Canada. Prior to nursing, Noopur was a Biological Science major but didn’t feel passionate about her chosen career. During that time, Noopur was volunteering at a local hospital. Witnessing the difference nurses made for their patients inspired her. Noopur has a passion for helping people, and she realized that nursing would be an ideal profession through which she could do that, so she switched majors to pursue nursing.  

Click here to read the entire interview.

Katherine Maki, MS, APN-BC

Congratulations to Katherine Maki for her recent ISONG Research Grant Award and for being selected for the 2017 National Institute of Nursing Research's Summer Genetic Institute, from which she received a scholarship to attend the 2018 Summer Institutes in Statistical Genetics.

ISONG/ASHG Collaboration at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Annual Conference.  ISONG members Beth Pestka, Virginia Conley, Nicole Osier, and an ASHG representative prepared the presentation, which was presented by Beth Peska and Virginia Conley.

Karlene Coleman, RN, MN, CGC

Karlene created educational videos that highlight the stories of two patients.  Click below to watch their incredible journeys unfold.

Cystic Fibrosis: Sam's Story                           Hemophilia & the Fencer: Luke's Story

Nicole Osier, PhD, RN

"How to Move into an Omics Lab" - watch the process unfold as Dr. Osier and her team of busy bees set-up her omics lab at UT Austin!    
Sandra Daack-Hirsch, PhD, RN
Becky Kronk, PhD, MSN, CRNP Jennifer Sanner Beauchamp, PhD, RN

Congratulations to Sandra Daack-Hirsch, Becky Kronk and Jennifer Sanner Beauchamp on their recent award of an honorary fellowship by the American Academy of Nursing. Each year, by awarding honorary fellowship, the Academy recognizes individuals in honor of their extraordinary contributions to nursing and health.  

Laurie Connors, DNP, APNG, FNP-BC, AGN-BC, AOCNP

Congratulations to ISONG Member Dr. Laurie Connors from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing who along with a colleague prepared a guest editorial on "Genetics and Genomics Content in Nursing Education: A National Imperative." Though genetic competencies have been embedded in AACN's Essentials documents, many nursing programs lack foundational content in the curricula. The authors call for academic nursing leaders to strengthen student preparation in the genetic and molecular basis of disease to better meet population health needs.

Eugenia Millender, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, CDE

As one of the few indigenous Afro-Caribbean Latina doctorally prepared nurse scientist fluent in Spanish, Dr. Eugenia Millender’s career in health has been dedicated to increasing access to quality care, decreasing health and mental disparities, and providing a culturally humble environment for patients, staff, faculty, and students.

Bobbi Laing, PhD, RN

Dr. Laing is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland in New Zealand (NZ) and is an emerging expert in nutrigenomics and health promotion. Dr. Laing recently completed her PhD thesis entitled ‘Key genotypes and the response to nutrient supplementation in Chron’s disease' and is the project manager for two collaborative research projects at the University of Auckland. 

Jessica Anderson, APRN, WHNP, AGN-BC

My story begins in 1986. My mother was 31 years old. She was married with two small girls, 8 and 4 years old. She found a lump in her breast….but 31 year olds don’t get cancer. It must be benign. She was told to watch it for a few months to see if it “goes away.” Two months later she returned to her doctor and pressed for further evaluation. A mammogram lead her to biopsy where she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31. She was treated with a radical left breast mastectomy and removal of 19 lymph nodes. All nodes were negative. She came home to her young family with a scar and staples where her left breast had been. Read more 

Cheedy Jaja, PhD, MPH, MN, MSN, PMHNP-BC, RN

ISONG Member, Dr. Cheedy Jaja, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Cincinnati, is a man on a mission to create better awareness of the disease in Sierra Leone.  There is growing recognition that sickle cell disease (SCD) represents an increasing global health burden. While remarkable progress has been made toward a better understanding and improved survival of patients with SCD in the United States, the fate of sickle cell disease babies in Sierra Leone is largely determined even before they are born. Up to 90 percent of the babies will die before their 5th birthday because of anemia, malaria and bacterial infections.

Masakazu Nishigaki, RN, CGC, PhD

Dr. Nishigaki is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at Kyoto University in Japan and is a registered nurse and certified genetic counselor. Dr. Nishigaki is interested in behavioral change and genetic risk information of common disease, as well as genomic health literacy. Dr. Nishigaki has been a primary investigator and co-investigator on several grants examining genetic information in clinical practice. 

Sheila A. Alexander, PhD, RN, FCCM

Congratulations to Dr. Sheila Alexander for receiving the Nightingale Award of Pennsylvania for Nursing Research. This is an award for exceptional nursing research and the broad reaching impact of her research and mentoring work. Click Here for the complete program  information.

Andrew Dwyer, PhD, FNP-BC

Dr. Dwyer is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Lausanne, Institute of Higher Education & Research in Healthcare and the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV). Dr. Dwyer supervises masters and doctoral students and teaches courses in advanced clinical assessment, family systems, and is a guest lecturer in genetic disorders of sexual development.  

Carolyn Allen, DNP, CRNP-F, MS-Genetics 

I graduated from GWU in 2010 from the Family Nurse Practitioner program. This is my third career change, or should I say transition. I was a genetic counselor for a few years before going to nursing school. After completing my BSN, I worked in hospital settings for medical/surgical, psychiatrics, and pulmonary for a few years. As soon as an opportunity availed itself, I finally came back to maternal child health. The bulk of my nursing career (15 years) was in-patient obstetrics. My long term vision had been to combine the advanced practice nursing career with the genetics component and be a nurse educator in a university hospital setting.

Sylvia S. Estrada, DNP, MSN, MSHCM, WHNP-BC, CBCN 

Ms. Estrada is the Clinical Program Coordinator at the Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She is nationally certified as a: Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner; Certified Breast Care Nurse; and Certified Clinical Research Professional. Her current clinical care and research interests involve the screening of women who are at high risk for breast cancer and providing genetic counseling for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.   

Cheryl R. Brubaker, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, RN 

Cheryl is a primary care provider with DaVita Medical Group, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. DaVita Medical Group is the largest independent group of medical providers in the United States. Dr. Brubaker works to incorporate genomics in to daily primary care practice. Dr. Brubaker also teaches part time with the University of New Mexico in the FNP and DNP programs.

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