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Genetic Center

We offer genetic testing, genetic counseling, and diagnostic evaluation and medical management of genetic conditions, birth defects and developmental delays. We have a special focus on preconception and hereditary cancers, and work with specialty clinics for cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, metabolic disorders, sickle cell disease, spina bifida and skeletal dysplasias.

Pre-conception through adult services

Genetics plays a central role in many aspects of our physical and mental health. Our department helps to find answers for individuals and families with questions about causes or inheritance of birth defects, developmental differences and other conditions including cancer. Services may include thorough evaluation, testing, diagnosis, risk assessment, counseling, information and support.

Genetic services may be appropriate for your family if you have:

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

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Contact Genetics


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Genetic Center
Akron Children's Hospital Genetic Center, Akron
Considine Professional Building
215 West Bowery Street
Level 5
Akron, Ohio 44308
Fax: 330-543-3677
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Map & directions
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Genetics, Boardman
Akron Children's Hospital Genetics, Boardman
6505 Market Street
Building A
Boardman, Ohio 44512
More about this location...
Map & directions
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Our Doctors/Providers

Department Heads:
Carrie Costin
Carrie Costin, MD

Director, Genetic Center; Clinical Geneticist

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Abdulrazak Alali, MD

Clinical and Biochemical Geneticist


Jason Laufman, MD, FACMGG



Catherine Ward-Melver, MD

Clinical Geneticist

Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants:

Jennifer Stefanich, MSN, APRN-CNP

Nurse Practitioner

Other Providers:

Laura Benedict, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Emily Creque, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Madeline Frederick, MS, CGC

Certified Genetic Counselor


Meghan Holecko, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Connie Motter, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Jennifer Stein, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Joleen Viront, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Kara Vitalone, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Kimberly Wallis, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


Susan Woods, MS, CGC

Licensed, Certified Genetic Counselor


What Should Families Expect When They Come for an Appointment?

At Akron Children’s, your child’s health and safety is our priority. Please continue to bring your child for wellness visits, vaccinations or sick care appointments that keep children healthy. We want to assure you that we have taken additional precautions to ensure a safe environment for your child and family. The following are additional safety efforts, in addition to our normal cleaning protocols, that we are taking to help you be comfortable bringing your child to an appointment.

Masking and Other Safety Protocols

Akron Children’s has a number of safety protocols in place for our patients and visitors in order to provide a safe hospital environment.

Health Screening Station Ahead Sign

Checking In and Screening of Visitors

Akron Children's now offers Mobile Check-in to limit your exposure to others. You'll receive a text an hour before your child's appointment arrival time. Click the link in the text when you reach the Akron Children's facility for your child's appointment. You will receive a confirmation text that reminds you to wait in your car. Once we determine appropriate spacing is available inside the building, you'll receive a third text to let you know it's OK to come in for your appointment.

Immediately upon entering the building, your temperature will be taken, either by a thermal scanner or a greeter who will also ask you a few questions.

If you are in a waiting room, you’ll notice signs and a limited number of chairs. This is to remind our patients to keep 6 feet of physical distance between your family and others.

Precautions If You Suspect Your Child Has COVID-19

Call your child’s healthcare professional if your child is sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your health care professional will work with Ohio’s public health department and the CDC to determine if your child needs to be tested for COVID-19.

View all the safety precautions Akron Children's is taking.

Genetic Services

Adult Services

We provide adult genetic services for a wide range of reasons including follow-up for adults with genetic conditions diagnosed in childhood, or evaluation of adult onset genetic conditions or birth defects, and other physical and mental conditions of unknown cause. In addition, genetics is playing an increasing role in risk assessment and risk reduction for common disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

A genetics evaluation includes a detailed medical and family history, physical exam and discussion of possible diagnosis and testing options.

Adults who may benefit include those with:

  • Known genetic conditions, such as Marfan syndrome, neurofibromatosis and polycystic kidney disease
  • Adult-onset genetic conditions, such as hemochromatosis, neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington disease and certain cardiomyopathies or arrhythmias
  • Birth defects and/or intellectual disabilities without an underlying diagnosis
  • Family histories of known or suspected genetic diagnoses

Preconception and Prenatal Services

We provide preconception (before pregnancy) and prenatal (during pregnancy) services in collaboration with Akron Children’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Center for individuals or couples who want to learn more about their chances of having a baby with a birth defect, developmental difference or genetic condition.

Although most babies are born healthy, some couples have a higher chance of having a baby with a birth defect or genetic condition. We tailor our services for people who want to learn about the impact of their personal risk factors and family medical history. We will:

  • Review relevant medical, lifestyle, family, reproductive histories and prior test results
  • Discuss screening/diagnostic testing options and strategies to improve the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy
  • Provide educational materials and resources
  • Provide information in a supportive, non-directive manner so individuals can make decisions consistent with their personal values

The best time to seek this information is prior to pregnancy.

Pediatric Services

We provide pediatric genetic services for families whose child has a known or suspected genetic condition. A pediatric genetics evaluation includes a detailed family and medical history, thorough physical exam, testing and discussion of possible diagnoses and management options.

Pediatric genetic services can benefit children with:

  • Known genetic conditions
  • Abnormal results on newborn screening tests
  • Developmental delays, intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorders
  • Unexplained vision or hearing loss
  • Multiple unexplained physical problems, birth defects or unusual features
  • A family history that raises concern about a genetic condition


What to Expect

The first appointment in genetics will take about 1.5 hours. If the person who is referred is a child, they must come to the visit. You should bring any relevant outside medical records with you. You may also fax your medical records ahead of time to 330-543-3677. If you fax records please write the patient’s name, date of birth, and genetics appointment date on the cover sheet. A detailed family history will also be obtained at your visit and so you may want to talk with family members and gather this information before the appointment.

You may meet with several healthcare providers during your visit. These providers may include a nurse, genetic counselor and/or a genetic physician or nurse practitioner, and possibly a metabolic dietician depending on the reason for the visit.

It is important to note that a visit in genetics involves more than simply having genetic testing. A full assessment will be completed and will include a detailed medical and family history, a review of relevant outside medical records, and depending on the reason for the visit, a complete physical exam. The genetics provider will discuss possible diagnoses, provide genetic counseling, and make recommendations about next steps. Next steps may include referrals to other specialists, x-rays or other imaging, laboratory testing, and/or genetic testing.

A follow-up visit is frequently needed when genetic testing results return. Your genetics provider will review the results and discuss next steps. Any necessary additional tests or evaluations will be ordered, and a care plan will be made.

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