Posted 3 weeks ago
Get to Know Our Ironwood Genetic Counselors – Rachel Mador-House
What made you decide to pursue Genetic Counseling as your career?
My love of science and biology began when I was in high school. The first lesson on human genetics and disease and I knew that was what I had to get into. I went on to continue to pursue my passion for genetics in university and my love for the field kept growing. There is just so much to learn when it comes to our DNA and our knowledge changes every day. I enjoyed that the field still had a lot of unknowns and there was so much room for discovery.
I began my genetics career as a lab scientist but after a few years realized that I really wanted to work with people. It was then that I began researching careers where I could work with patients with genetic diseases and challenges.
That is how I learned about Genetic Counseling and I just knew it was the perfect profession for me, a blend of genetics, science, research, and patient care. I’m so happy with my choices and I love that I get to help people every single day.
How important is it for a patient to receive genetic counseling after receiving a cancer diagnosis?
Genetic counseling can be extremely important for some patients. Patients who have rare types of cancer, cancers that have happened early in their lives or have had more than one type of cancer should consider asking their doctor about seeing a Genetic Counselor.
We can help evaluate if genetic testing may be helpful in your care, we can help coordinate the genetic testing, and we can help you and your Providers understand the results and come up with a plan based on those results.
What are the educational requirements for a Genetic Counselor? Where did you attend school?
Genetic Counselors are required to complete a Bachelors’s Undergraduate degree and then a Master’s of Science Degree in Genetic Counseling from an accredited university. We then must pass a standardized board exam to attain our certification. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Canada where I got my Honors Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology with a minor in Philosophy.
I then went on to do my first Masters of Science degree in Molecular Genomics Research at the University of Toronto, which is also in Canada. My final degree came from California State University Stanislaus where I graduated with a Master’s of Science degree in Genetic Counseling.
Have you been involved in any research projects?
I have had the pleasure of working on numerous research projects and have published extensively during my career. I have worked on all sorts of projects. One interesting project I worked on was using mitochondrial DNA to help identify new and existing species of fish in Africa.
I also worked on projects related to human health where I helped to figure out the DNA structure around areas that can cause diseases such as Myotonic Dystrophy and Huntington’s Disease.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
The best part of my job is working with patients to help them understand their own genetics and the genetics of their families better. Sometimes we can get clarity about someone’s cancer diagnosis or future cancer risk through genetic testing and it is always fulfilling to be able to help get patient’s answers.
Best place you’ve ever traveled to?
I actually lived in South Korea for a year as an English teacher. I had the opportunity to travel to many Asian countries during that time and one of my favorites was Cambodia. I was overwhelmed by the friendliness and generosity of the locals.
The beautiful ancient temples and delicious food were highlights for me as well. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to 20 countries and I’ve loved each and every one for different and unique reasons.
What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
I love spending my weekends enjoying the beauty of Arizona. You can find me out hiking with my dog, kayaking, and biking around to local farmers’ markets. I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and I make sure to enjoy it on every occasion I’m given.
About Ciara Endicott
Ciara Endicott is the Support Service Coordinator for Ironwood Integrative Services. Ciara oversees class and support group scheduling and implementation, as well as informational support to patients and their caregivers. Ciara also oversees the volunteer program at Ironwood that helps with various patient resources within our clinics.
She provides basic direction for patients seeking resources within the practice. Ciara has been with Ironwood since 2013, working with oncology patients in her various roles. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s Degree at Arizona State University, Majoring in Community Advocacy & Social Policy, and plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Her passion and desire to work with cancer patients have been inspired by her own experience with cancer and her desire to promote whole-person health and healing. Outside of work, Ciara enjoys doing crafts with her two children, playing Scrabble with her husband, and journaling.
About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers
Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program, and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information, please visit www.ironwoodcrc.com.