Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was appointed the National Office for the Victor Center in 2017.The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Victor Center maintains the nation-wide collaborative work of the center in promoting education related to preconception screening while increasing knowledge, awareness, and access to genetic services.
The Victor Center is under the medical leadership of Dr. Saima Aftab, Director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s. Administrative leadership is provided by Dr. Jennifer McCafferty, Director of the Personalized Medicine Initiative and the Nicklaus Children’s Research Institute. Debbie Wasserman serves as genetic counselor and outreach coordinator.
The Victor Center was originally founded in 2002 by Lois B. Victor in partnership with Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. Ms. Victor lost two children to a Jewish genetic disease before a test for the disorder became available. The experience galvanized her commitment to ensuring that no family endures the heartache of a preventable illness by making certain Jews of childbearing age are screened and get the information they need to have healthy children. Ms. Victor is a native of Boston and a long-time resident of South Florida, and continues to serve on the Victor Center Advisory Committee.
How would you describe the long-term mission of the Victor Center?
That it remain the gold standard for testing of Jewish genetic diseases and continue to educate the community about how important testing is before pregnancy. That we continue to impart the message that these diseases are all preventable and that a simple blood or saliva test can change your life.
Why did you found the Victor Center?
So that other people would not have to go through what my family went through.
What is your strongest memory or achievement?
Every time we begin a new partnership, we move closer to making it possible for people to have an easier time knowing where and how to get tested. The more partnerships we make, the more information we get out there, the more people can go out and get tested, the better.