Victor Center Expands Service to the Northeast!

Extra! Extra!
Spread the word!

The Victor Center is thrilled to announce that we now offer expanded service to states in the Northeast!  Anyone residing in New YorkNew Jersey, and Maryland, in addition to our regular service area of MassachusettsPennsylvania, and Florida, can now be screened and counseled through the Victor Center.

And don’t forget, you can Screen in Quarantine from the safety and comfort of your home. Just make an appointment by visiting www.victorcenter.org, sending an email to  Deborah.Wasserman@nicklaushealth.org, or calling (786) 897-9587.  Once you receive your test kit, our genetic counselor will meet with you via phone or videoconference for initial counseling, and then a second time to deliver your results.  From start to finish, it takes less than three weeks.

Please spread the word e to your friends and family so they can take advantage of this special offer.  Let’s support one other in our efforts to promote the health of future generations!

All the very best,

Debbie Wasserman, Genetic Counselor and National Outreach Coordinator
Evelyn Dean-Olmsted, Outreach Associate
Shari Debowsky, Director of Major Gifts, NCH Foundation

Summertime 2020: Virtual Events and Remote Services

Dear Victor Center Friends,

Summertime is upon us!  We are so happy to reach out to you with this newsletter. It has been far too long since we have communicated because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Many of us were furloughed or have been working part-time, while the rest of us have been working remotely. Now, we are all back working at full force and want to share some new opportunities at the Victor Center. You may recall that we established a new “Screen in Quarantine” program in April so that you can participate in preconception genetic counselling virtually and receive a test kit to your home. We even have mobile phlebotomy available to anyone who would like to have blood drawn for the test instead of saliva.  Visit www.victorcenter.org to request a test and learn more.

Statistically, there are more conceptions during the summer. (Think of all those weddings and romantic getaways!)  What better time to do preconception screening?  Many of you have been tested in the past with smaller panels of 19 or fewer disorders. If that is the case, it is most important that you update your panel soon.  Today’s preconception genetic screens can detect many more disorders with greater precision. The Victor Center panel now tests for over 200 gene mutations. For those who have tested and been found to be carriers, please remember to encourage your family members to screen.  Give them and everyone you know the opportunity to learn the vital health information you gained through screening.  At present, we can screen anyone with residence in the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts.

In other news, we are pleased to announce that we now offer virtual screening and educational events.  Our dynamic, interactive Zoom presentations are a great way to bring together friends, families, colleagues, and Jewish communities while physically distancing.  (Virtual wedding shower, anyone?)  It’s a very simple process that you can do in the comfort of your own homes. Please reach out to Debbie Wasserman at 786-897-9587 or Deborah.Wasserman@nicklaushealth.org for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you – and virtually seeing you – very soon!

Sincerely,

Debbie Wasserman, Genetic Counselor and National Outreach Coordinator
Evelyn Dean-Olmsted, Outreach Associate

Screen in Quarantine

The Victor Center is  pleased to continue offering a full range of screening and counseling services – all from a safe social distance!

What better time to take this important action toward the health of future generations?

We invite you or your loved ones to Screen in Quarantine!  
How does it work?

The Victor Center Patient Experience remains largely the same, with small adjustments to make it easier for you to access screening and counseling.  From the moment an individual or couple requests a screening kit, the Victor Center guides them through the entire process. Our genetic counselor creates a relationship with each patient, personalizing the experience.

Inquiry → Appointment → VIRTUAL Genetic Counseling → Test at home → Delivery of results
Step 1: Make an inquiry by phone to 786-897-9587, email Deborah.Wasserman@nicklaushealth.org, or online at

https://www.victorcenter.org/

Step 2: Set an appointment for a phone or video conference.

Step 3: Enjoy a personalized counseling session from the comforts of home.

Step 4: Complete the test (mailed directly from the lab) and return it via FedEx Pickup – a no contact solution.

Step 5: The counselor calls you to deliver results and guide you in the next steps.

From start to finish, most patients will be seen within 1 week of the initial inquiry. Results are then delivered within approximately 2-3 weeks of the genetic counseling appointment.  After the results are reported, and if a carrier couple has been identified, our team helps patients to navigate the next steps for family planning.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Ensuring your baby’s health with genetic testing

By Kristi Krueger – Anchor/Health Reporter

About 500,000 South Floridians run risk of having baby with severe genetic disorder

MIAMI – An estimated 500,000 South Floridians run the risk of having a baby with severe genetic disorders. However, knowing their risk factors in advance can play a major role in family planning.

“Looking back, it was one of the hardest things I had to do,” said Shari Debowsky, who underwent genetic testing.

Debowsky is the proud mother of two healthy children, but there was a third. Several weeks into her first pregnancy, doctors discovered her baby had a fatal genetic defect.

“Because I had to terminate that pregnancy, everything I do now is based on what happened there,” said Debowsky.

Debowsky devotes much of her time to the Victor Center at Miami Children’s Hospital, which is dedicated to the prevention of Jewish diseases.

One in four people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a 25 percent chance of carrying one of 19 recognized gene mutations.

“Which means one four people are walking around with one of these genes but they don’t know it because they’re asymptotic, and they would only know if they’re tested for it,” said Dr. Parul Jayakar, a Miami Children’s Hospital geneticist.

According to Jayakar, the risk of having a child born with defects from the gene mutations is 25 percent with each pregnancy.

“Generally these kids are born normally, then they have seizures, developmental delays, vision problems, can’t walk and then death,” said Jayakar.

Shari and her husband are both carriers for a deadly genetic condition called Tay-Sachs. An amniocentesis revealed her first baby had been infected and would have eventually died. Tests on her second and third pregnancies showed that while the babies were also carriers of Tay-Sachs, they were not affected by the mutation.

“It’s wonderful, I have two healthy children, ages 4 and 2, and it’s amazing,” said Shari.

Genetic testing is encouraged if either one, or both potential parents are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent — those whose ancestors are from central Eastern Europe.

Community Screening In Miami

Jewish? Not Jewish? Not Sure? It doesn’t matter! The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases is here to help! This event is an amazing opportunity for our South Florida Community.

FREE. I repeat. FREE Screening for Jewish Genetic Diseases on Tuesday, December 18th – 7pm – at Temple Beth Am, Miami. If you are in South Florida and have not been screened or would like your panel to be updated for pre-conception genetics, please sign up. If you have a question about our screening process please call me – 305-794-7358 or email me at Shari.Debowsky@nicklaushealth.org.

If you are interested in a screening opportunity for your community, please connect with me. Private appointments are available upon request.

Click here to register!