Christina Palmer, MS, PhD, CGC

Position Title
Professor-in-Residence, MS in Genetic Counseling Program Director

Dr. Palmer has been a UCLA faculty member since 1999. Her primary faculty appointment is in the David Geffen School of Medicine (Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences), with joint appointments in the Department of Human Genetics (David Geffen School of Medicine), and the Institute for Society and Genetics (College, Division of Life Sciences). Dr. Palmer received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from Indiana University, a master’s degree in Human Genetics (emphasis in Genetic Counseling) from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in Industrial Engineering (emphasis in decision sciences). She is a board-certified and licensed genetic counselor and has been actively involved in the genetic counseling profession for over 30 years, and she has provided psychiatric genetic counseling to individuals or families in the UCLA General Genetics Clinic. She has taught and mentored undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral students, and medical residents in the College and the Medical School. Dr. Palmer’s research interests generally center around outcomes of genetic counseling and genetic testing, and access to genetic information, particularly for under-served communities. She has been PI or Co-PI of NSF- and NIH-funded projects since 1995, including a multi institutional, multidisciplinary NIDCD-funded project assessing outcomes of genetic counseling and Connexin 26 genetic testing as an adjunct to newborn hearing screening; a multi institutional, multidisciplinary NHGRI-funded project assessing the outcomes of genetic counseling and genetic testing on deaf adults and the deaf community; a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary NCI-funded project to develop and disseminate cancer genetics information in American Sign Language for the deaf community; and Phase I and Phase II NHGRI grants establishing the UCLA Clinical Site within the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. Dr. Palmer has considerable leadership experience. She is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the premier scholarly resource devoted to the practice and discipline of genetic counseling. Previous leadership positions include: interim Director of the Institute for Society and Genetics (AY2018), Academic Senate Committee on Committees (AY2015, AY2016, Chair AY2017), Chair and Vice Chair of the College Faculty Executive Committee (AY2012, AY2013, AY2014), Vice Chair of Institute for Society and Genetics (2012-2015), Chair, NSGC Practice Guidelines Committee (2014). As Chair of the College Faculty Executive Committee, she oversaw the successful adoption of the UCLA undergraduate diversity requirement. As Chair of the NSGC Practice Guidelines Committee, she oversaw the wholesale revamping of the organization’s process to construct evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. She has served on committees or subcommittees of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, the American Board of Genetic Counseling, the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, and the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics over the years. Dr. Palmer is a recipient of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship (2001); UCLA Academic Senate Committee on Diversity and Equal Opportunity Special Recognition Award for her work on the College undergraduate diversity requirement (2015); 2015 Strategic Leader Award from the National Society of Genetic Counselors; and the UCLA Life Sciences Excellence Award for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion (2016).

Department: Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

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