Dr. Armstrong joined the medical genetics team in 2003, and in addition to this leadership role at BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre, she maintains a general medical genetics practice. Dr. Armstrong answered a few questions about her role:
The Provincial Medical Genetics program provides genetic and genomic consultation services to British Columbians. As the medical director, I’m responsible for administering the clinical service, and also promoting our related research and educational mandates. I work in close partnership with our program manager and genetic counselling professional practice leader.
In medical genetics we care for individuals and families with diverse genetic and genomic concerns. Reaching a rare diagnosis and helping a family to adjust is often complex. These processes can require highly personalized approaches with input from specialized laboratories and international experts, and must be done with careful attention to the psychosocial and ethical aspects. I find being a part of the team that supports patients requiring these kinds of care rewarding.
New genetic and genomic tests are incredibly helpful in finding answers for patients, but sometimes they leave us with an uncertain result. We pay attention to explaining this upfront when we offer testing to people, and we work to support individuals when we have to give an uncertain result. Yet, not having a clear answer is a burden for patients. Research is improving things and this is becoming less of a challenge with time.
Our program’s team-based model of care allows us to provide excellent care for individuals and families with genetic and genomic concerns. Within our program, support staff, genetic counsellors, and physicians each have important roles in the service we provide. Working with this model of care is rewarding, as it enables us to be most productive and comprehensive in meeting patients’ needs by working together.