Genetic Center

Akron Children's Genetic Center offers diagnostic evaluation and medical management of genetic conditions, birth defects and developmental delays, as well as genetic testing and genetic counseling. Read More...

Costin Carrie
Carrie Costin, MD
Clinical Geneticist

Robinson Haynes
Haynes Robinson, MD
Associate Director, Fetal Treatment Center Interim Director, Genetic Center

Ward-Melver Catherine
Catherine Ward-Melver, MD
Clinical Geneticist

D'Attoma Julie
Julie D'Attoma, RN
Case Manager, Hereditary Cancer Program; Metabolic Clinic Nurse

Motter Connie
Connie Motter, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Parker Marcie
Marcie Parker, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Saler Archbold Amanda
Amanda Saler Archbold, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Stein Jennifer
Jennifer Stein, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Turner Tiffany
Tiffany Turner, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Viront Joleen
Joleen Viront, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Woods Susan
Susan Woods, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor



Close
Close

Meet Our Patients

Close

Overview

Genetics - Overview

Akron Children's Genetic Center offers preconception services, a prenatal clinic, a hereditary cancer program, and specialty clinics for cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, fragile X, metabolic disorders, sickle cell disease, spina bifida and skeletal dysplasias.

Our center's board-certified medical geneticists and genetic counselors provide:

  • Diagnostic evaluation and medical management of genetic conditions, birth defects and developmental delays
  • Advanced genetic testing and interpretation of test results
  • Genetic counseling, information and support
  • Genetic education for professionals and the general public

A general genetics evaluation includes a detailed family and medical history, a detailed physical examination and a discussion of the finding, possible diagnoses and testing options.

Pediatric services

Finding a genetic cause for a child's developmental or medical issues may be important in identifying other associated health issues, accessing the appropriate services or understanding recurrence risks for relatives and future pregnancies.

Genetics services may be appropriate for families who have a child with:

  • A known genetic condition
  • Unexplained mental retardation, developmental delays, learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorders
  • Birth defects or congenital anomalies
  • Multiple unexplained physical problems or unusual features
  • A family history raising concern of a genetic condition

Adult services

Because the practice of genetics involves the entire family, the Akron Children’s Genetic Center serves patients of all ages. Even when the initial concern involves a child, it may be appropriate to evaluate and/or test adult members of the family who may also be affected or at risk of having children with the same disorder. We are sometimes able to make diagnoses in adults that could not be made when they were children.

In addition, some genetic conditions may not become evident until adulthood. It is becoming increasingly clear that a number of adult-onset conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and hypertension have significant genetic components.

The decision to pursue predictive genetic testing before symptoms of these disorders appear may be very personal and complex. We provide information, risk assessment, support and offer genetic testing when appropriate for adults, as well as other family members at risk for these conditions and many others, including Huntington’s disease, hemochromatosis, and polycystic kidney disease.

This exciting field is still in its infancy, but evaluations, risk assessments and consideration of any appropriate testing is available, especially for people and families with unusual histories, such as early onset of these conditions.

We see adults in many settings, including our adult-focused preconception, prenatal, and hereditary cancer programs. Genetic services are covered by most insurance companies, Medicaid and other third-party payers such as the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH).

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Many things, including environmental and hereditary, may affect your chance of developing cancer. About 1 in every 3 women with breast cancer has a family history of cancer: however, this does not mean it’s hereditary. Cancer is very common and may occur in more than 1 family member due to similar lifestyle choices, shared environmental factors, or purely by chance.

Certain families have an identifiable factor increasing their risk of developing cancer. In fact, 5 to 10 percent of breast and ovarian cancer cases are due to an inherited change (mutation) in a single gene. The first such genes identified were BRCA1 and BRCA2. Since then additional genes have been identified and new testing options are developing rapidly.

The role of these genes is to prevent cancer by keeping cells from growing abnormally. If you inherit a change in one of these genes from either parent, this protection may be lost. Therefore, women with a hereditary mutation in any of these genes have an increased lifetime risk of getting breast, ovarian or other cancers.

Who is at risk?

Your risk may be greater if you have a personal or family history (on your mother’s or father’s side) of the following:

  • Breast cancer before age 50
  • Breast cancer in both breasts
  • Breast and ovarian cancer in the same woman
  • Male breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer (at any age)
  • Multiple family members with breast or ovarian cancer in more than 1 generation
  • A relative who tested positive for a known cancer-related gene mutation
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry along with another risk factor

What information can genetic testing offer?

Genetic testing for hereditary cancer-related gene mutations is called susceptibility testing. If testing identifies a gene change, it does not mean you have cancer or will get it. It means you have a higher risk of developing certain cancers compared to the general population. If you know this, there are cancer screenings and prevention options beyond what is recommended for the general population. Testing may also identify people who are not at risk and do not need increased screening.

Hereditary cancer predisposition tests are often complex, and the decision to pursue them is not always straightforward. It can be a very emotional and personal decision that is not right for everyone. In addition, test results may be difficult to interpret. Your decision to be tested can also affect your family. If you test positive, other family members including your children and siblings may carry the same mutation. Because of these factors, the American Society of Clinical Oncology  recommends you speak with a genetic professional before making a decision regarding testing.

Hereditary Colorectal Cancer

Most people have a 5 to 6 percent chance of developing colorectal cancer in their lifetime. It may occur in more than one family member because of similar lifestyle choices, shared environmental factors, or purely by chance. It may also be inherited, or passed down, through a family in 5 to 7 percent of all cases.

Hereditary colorectal cancer is caused by an inherited change (mutation) in one of several genes, which can cause cells to grow out of control.

The most common cause of inherited colorectal cancer is Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer Syndrome (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome. Other hereditary forms include familial adenomatous polyposis, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and juvenile polyposis  syndrome.

Who is at risk?

Your risk may be greater if you have a personal or family history (on your mother’s or father’s side) of the following:

  • Colorectal cancer before the age of 50
  • Multiple colorectal cancers or more than one HNPCC-associated cancer (such as colorectal, small bowel, endometrial, ureter, renal, ovarian or stomach cancer)
  • Two or more close relatives with a HNPCC-associated cancer
  • A relative who has tested positive for a gene mutation that is known to increase colorectal cancer risk
  • A relative with more than 10 colorectal polyps

What information can genetic testing offer?

If testing identifies a gene change, it does not mean you have cancer or will get it. It means you have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.  This knowledge may empower you to have a more active role in cancer screening and to consider additional prevention options. Testing may also identify people who are not at risk and not in need of increased screening or additional testing.

Genetic tests for hereditary cancer are often complex, and the decision to pursue them is not always straightforward. In addition, test results may be difficult to interpret. We understand that genetic testing can be an emotional and personal decision, which may not be right for everyone.  Additionally, while testing has implications for you, it may also affect your family. Due to the variety of benefits and limitations associated with hereditary cancer predisposition testing, the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends you speak with a genetics professional before making a decision regarding testing. 

Close

What To Expect

Before the appointment

Before a visit to the Akron Children's Genetic Center, it is important to gather information on the person being seen, as well as his family information. A packet will be sent prior to the appointment to help guide the collection of this information. Important details include:

  • The patient's medical and developmental history. Medical records can be helpful, especially those from out the Akron Children's system.
  • A detailed family history, especially an information that seems to relate to the patient's concerns. The office of the surgeon general has a web-based data collection tool at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov. A template is also provided in the patient packet.
  • Reports from any previous genetic assessment or testing. If a request for this information needs to be filed, we can provide a copy of a records release form.

At the appointment

A typical visit to Akron Children's Genetic Center lasts about one hour. During this time, patients meet with a genetic counselor and clinical geneticist (physician).

  • A genetic counselor evaluates your detailed family and medical history.
  • The clinical geneticist performs a physical examination.
  • The geneticist discusses the findings, as well as other evaluations that may be indicated.
  • Testing may be conducted on the day of your visit, or you may need to return for testing following preauthorization with insurance.

Bookmark and Share

Developments Developments
Sign up for enewsletter
Get involved Get involved
Discover ways to support Akron Children's
Join the conversation Join the conversation
See what our patient families are saying
Donate online

Give today


Donate online

Genetic Center
our locations

Akron Children's Hospital
Genetic Center
300 Locust St., Suite 500
Akron , OH 44302
Phone: 330-543-8792
Fax: 330-543-3677
More Information...

Akron Children's Hospital
Boardman Medical Pavilion
Pediatric Specialties
8423 Market St., 3rd Floor
Boardman , OH 44512
Phone: 330-729-1145
Fax: 330-729-1931
More Information...

Happy Day School
2500 Brady Lake Road
Ravenna , OH 44266
Appointments: 330-678-2400, ext. 2109
More Information...