The Alaska Genetic Clinics offer specialty genetics clinics for diagnosis and genetic counseling for individuals with inherited conditions, chromosomal disorders, or birth defects. Common referrals include:
- Birth defects or Genetic Disorders;
- Families in which more than one person has the same condition or disorder;
- Developmental delays where the child does not reach developmental milestones on time, or they do not function developmentally, intellectually, socially, or behaviorally as expected for age;
- Sensory impairment, including vision or hearing problems.
The Alaska Metabolic Clinics offer specialty genetics clinics for individuals diagnosed with metabolic genetic disorders. Individuals commonly seen in this clinic include:
- a child with a metabolic disorder diagnosed through the Newborn Metabolic Screening Program;
- children with changes in body chemistry such as extremely high and low protein, fat or sugar levels in their blood.
Services and Delivery
Newborns to adults 22 years of age can be referred to Alaska Genetic Clinics by their health care provider for a genetic evaluation. Referrals are accepted from the military, IHS, and the public/private health sectors. Clinic staff consists of our clinic manager, a genetic counselor and contracted out-of-state geneticists. A nutritionist is part of the contracted staff for our metabolic clinic. We also work closely with local public health nurses. At the clinic, patients will be given a physical examination and a family health history will be taken. The geneticist will talk with them about the diagnosis or possible diagnosis; its cause, treatment, reproductive risks, and carrier testing. At the metabolic clinic our nutritionist will assess and council patients with metabolic conditions that require nutritional support.
The clinic manager and genetics counselor work with families for pre-clinic preparation and post-clinic follow-up, as well as further testing if required. In addition to the clinics, medical geneticists are available by telephone for Alaska physicians. They also provide medical educational presentations to health care providers in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Approximately 350 families are seen annually at genetics clinics held throughout the year in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
Funding for Genetic Services is provided by federal (MCH Block Grant) and state funds.
Challenges and Accomplishments
The State of Alaska does not have a medical school or a genetics laboratory. Providing high-quality, specialized genetic services to a geographically remote and diverse population is a continuing challenge. Genetics is a rapidly expanding area of medicine that is becoming an important component of other areas of medicine and dentistry.
For clinic schedules and program information, contact:
Meg Kurtagh, Clinic Manager
Alaska Division of Public Health
Women’s, Children’s and Family Health
3601 C Street, Suite 322
Anchorage, AK 99503
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