Genetic Counselors Struggle For Status

Their field is blossoming, but many are disturbed by what they see as a lack of official recognition The field of medical genetics--whose practitioners are, for the most part, Ph.D.'s--recently received a significant boost by being offered member status by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), an Evanston, Ill.-based indepen- dent body that evaluates and certifies physician specialists, such as cardiologists. The prestigious ABMS hasn't admitted a new field to its 23-group roste

Ricki Lewis
Aug 30, 1992
Their field is blossoming, but many are disturbed by what they see as a lack of official recognition
The field of medical genetics--whose practitioners are, for the most part, Ph.D.'s--recently received a significant boost by being offered member status by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), an Evanston, Ill.-based indepen- dent body that evaluates and certifies physician specialists, such as cardiologists.

The prestigious ABMS hasn't admitted a new field to its 23-group roster in 13 years, and the last time ABMS recognized Ph.D.'s, as opposed to M.D.'s, was back in 1957, when radiation physicists gained member status. With the new offer, 291 Ph.D. medical geneticists--who detect genetic problems in patients--will be on a par with obstetricians and pediatricians in that they will be able to set fees, be reimbursed by insurance companies, and not be obligated to report to M.D.'s.

But if ABMS's offer of member status comes as...

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