GCEA Code of Conduct (November 2020)

The Genetic Counselor Educators Association (GCEA) Code of Conduct is a statement of the guiding principles for how organization members engage with each other. The scope of the Code considers the distinct relationships between member programs, individual members, student trainees and genetic counselors. Areas in which Programs engage with each other include, membership meetings and activities, the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match (“the Match”), collaborations on educational and clinical training resources, mentorship, and data sharing between Programs. Although adherence to the Code cannot easily be measured, perceived or potential deviations from the guidance provided in the Code may be elevated to the Executive Committee for consideration. The Code of Conduct is aspirational in nature and embodies the ideal core values of the GCEA. The defining core values were derived from membership input and include: integrity, responsibility, collaboration, excellence, diversity, anti-racism, anti-oppression and allyship in genetic counseling education. It is imperative we examine the status quo by looking at what we do with greater humility. Ongoing reflection and conversations led to review of the document as initially drafted. The committee approached the document with intentionality to better illustrate the importance of anti-racism and anti-oppression aspirations, to address systemic racism, and to build an inclusive environment. The theme of social justice is interwoven as it impacts all of the areas. Our commitment to equity, allyship and anti-oppressive practice serves as a pledge of our shared responsibility to challenge systemic barriers within our genetic counseling education community as it pertains to teaching, learning, practice, mentorship, community engagement, and research. Integrity

● Conduct interactions with members with integrity, honesty and respect to embrace a diverse, anti-racist, anti-oppressive academic environment for all learners and educators.

● Take responsibility for our actions and recognize the impact our actions and inactions have on others.

● Acknowledge and credit others for ideas, innovations, and collaborations.

● Promote a culture of brave and transparent communication within a supportive and confidential environment.

● Recognize the potential for actual and perceived conflicts of interest.


GCEA Code of Conduct Taskforce November, 2020

● Recognize that our collective information adds power to our actions in stewardship of our data.

● Adhere to established GCEA policies and guidelines (e.g. confidentiality of organization data, membership dues, the Match, etc.).

● Acknowledge our shared responsibility to leverage our positions of leadership and the power and influence we carry, in service of future students, trainees, colleagues and patients.

● Seek expertise around developing metrics to measure progress in these areas in order to assess our effectiveness, with an emphasis on:

  • promoting awareness of the genetic counseling profession
  • seeking robust applicants who represent the diverse clients we serve
  • supporting educational innovation to extend the access to our profession with cost, equity, and logistical barriers in mind
  • Reviewing all our practices with an inclusive and antiracist lens


● Collaborate with open communication in a way that supports and encourages us to increase knowledge, competency, self-reflection and effectiveness as educators.

● Work together to share resources in education, clinical training, research and best practices.

● Communicate with program leadership regarding fieldwork placements to determine what established relationships are in place prior to all rotation planning.

● Mentor with the intention of reciprocal growth.

● Encourage and welcome active participation in organizational activities.


● Continually work towards innovation, standards of excellence and quality of educational delivery.

● Adapt to changes in the educational climate and in the genetic counseling profession.

● Hold ourselves accountable to a high standard regarding self-reflective practices to address biases through education and changes in practice.

Diversity, Anti-racism, Anti-Oppression and Allyship

● Acknowledge our personal biases and how they inform our interactions with others.

● Interrupt microaggressions by naming, owning and understanding their impact on others

● Recognize diverse perspectives, experiences and identities as an asset.

● Intentionally create brave spaces to actively listen, learn and share our perspectives and experiences, and make informed changes accordingly.

● Act on identified opportunities to collaborate with members and affiliate organizations on ways to welcome and increase diverse identities and perspectives in our graduate programs and profession.

● Grow our profession to represent the communities which we serve.

● Strive toward allyship by challenging intersecting systems of oppression and systemic racism by becoming disruptors and educators in spaces dominated by the oppressive status quo.


For further reading on Allyship, see “Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice: Moving from Actor to Ally to Accomplice”


Taskforce Members:

Gayun Chan-Smutko, Chair

Robin Bennett

Jennifer Czerwinski

Martha Dudek

Lisa Kessler

Janelle Villiers, EC Liaison