Interview with Dr. Carey
In June 2016, John Carey, MD, MPH, won the sixth annual UUGPGC Teaching Award, which is conferred by the second year students and supported by the Division of Medical Genetics. Dr. Carey is an internationally known clinical geneticist who has been involved with the genetic counseling graduate program since its inception in 2005. He is known for his clinical and clinical research expertise, his didactic and clinical teaching, as well as his long-standing expertise and interest in the counseling aspects of our profession. His many roles in the program include teaching a diverse array of topics (e.g. clinical genetics such as teratology, health supervision, developmental genetics, and diagnostic evaluation; professional skills such as scientific reviewing; counseling skills such as breaking difficult news; and ethical/moral issues such as spirituality issues in genetic counseling); clinical supervision in pediatric genetics and specialty clinics; and serving on many student research committees and the research oversight committee.
What are the greatest challenges and rewards of teaching?
The greatest challenge in teaching is letting go of the need to be in control and allowing the mentee to fly on her/his own.
The rewards are plentiful and outnumber the challenges by 50x: observing the mentee grow and develop in the field is the highest among them ; observing the student display an insight you never thought of before is another but, to realize -again and again- that the students are indeed our teachers –-as if you just arrived at this realization “for the first time”. This is the pearl.
Compared to teaching in general, what is different about teaching genetic counseling students?
Genetic counseling students have a yearning for the field and foundation of knowledge that feels different from other health profession trainees we encounter…maybe it is commitment, maybe it is the culture of the Program, maybe it is what they came with on entering the profession, maybe it is the natural excitement of joining a discipline that is clearly on the rise. Whatever It is, It seems to come on board by the 2nd semester Year One, and it is palpable.
What have you learned from your students?
Most notably it is refreshing to observe the students pick up early on the desire to help and care for the families, and this epiphany that they experience is a reminder to us teachers (and so called role models) of what the field of genetic counseling is all about.
What do you like about working with genetic counselors?
This commitment to the field and to the families that they pick up early in their training is contagious and makes all of us strive to become better mentors, role models, and practitioners.
We are the enriched ones.