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Genetics and the Genetics Program

Family Health History is Important

Your family history holds key information about your past and clues to your future health. Many of your particular traits such as eye color, hair color and height are inherited. So, too, are risks for certain genetic conditions and health problems. By collecting your family’s health history, you can learn what health problems you may be at increased risk for in the future and how to reduce your risks.

Who should talk to genetics professional?

You may need to talk to your doctor or a genetic counselor if your family has:

When to Seek Help from a Genetic Counselor or Geneticist

What will I learn from a genetic counselor?

baby feetGenetic counseling is provided by licensed professionals, trained at the master’s level in the areas of clinical genetics, who work with an individual or family who may be at risk for an inherited condition or birth defect. Genetic counseling relies on communication skills to help individuals and families to understand how inheritance works and what causes genetic conditions, while providing information and education regarding testing procedures, diagnosis, prognosis, available options, recurrence risks and support services. Genetic counselors do not tell families what to do, but provide information and explanations of options that are available to the families. A genetic counselor or geneticist will help you:

Genetic Services

The purpose of genetic services is to determine an accurate diagnosis and provide information about a specific condition. These services are provided by m edical geneticists who are physicians, usually pediatricians or obstetricians, with advanced training in clinical genetics.

There are many components to a clinical genetic evaluation including:

Click here to view a map of genetic services by county.

The Genetics Program

baby feetThe purpose of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Genetics Program is to provide access to appropriate genetic services for any family with concerns about an inherited condition, and to increase awareness of services provided by the program among health care providers and consumers. Genetic services are available to families or persons of any age residing in Illinois, who may have a family history of, or concern about a medical condition with a genetic basis. Referrals can be made by physicians, other health care providers, schools, self referrals, or other means. Since 1985, the Genetics Program has been able to develop a regionalized genetic network to serve the citizens of Illinois through genetic grants to major medical centers and local public health departments. Specific components of the Genetics Program include:

For more information, please contact Illinois Department of Public Health, Genetics Program, 535 W. Jefferson, 2nd Floor Springfield, IL 62761, 217-785-8101, TTY (hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466

535 West Jefferson Street Springfield, Illinois 62761 · Phone 217-782-4977 · Fax 217-782-3987 · TTY 800-547-0466
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