C. Thomas Caskey, MD, FACP, FRSC; 2014 Friend of the Genetic Counseling Program

Richard R. Ferrante Friend of the Genetic Counseling Program Award

In 2007, the Program awarded its first, Friend of the Genetic Counseling Program Award to recognize individuals whose contribution to the education of genetic counselors has been integral to our success.
The award was presented to Richard R. Ferrante, PhD, former Director of Disability Resources for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. In 1983, Richard urged the genetics faculty to develop the Program, and has served as primary faculty in the classroom and on thesis committees ever since. His stalwart support led us to name the award in his honor.

We recognized Wendell H. McKenzie, PhD, Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Genetics from North Carolina State University upon his retirement in 2008. Dr. McKenzie has lit the genetics enthusiasm of many undergraduate students over his career, including fifteen of our alumni who were introduced to genetic counseling in his classroom.

Madeleine Will, Director of Public Policy for the National Down Syndrome Society was honored in 2009, for her engagement in conversations and support of master of science thesis research as we have worked together to build greater understanding between the genetics and Down syndrome advocacy communities.
The 2010 honoree Ruth K. Abramson, PhD., has taught psychiatric genetics to our students since the Program's inception. Dr. Abramson developed the S.C. Huntington Disease Testing and Counseling Program over 30 years ago, serving the families of South Carolina in this special area of medicine.

Special Friends of the Program, Ken Corning, MS (Class of 1993) and Angie Lichty, MS (Class of 1999), were recognized in 2011 for their teaching expertise for which has become integral to the education of genetic counselors. Ken and Angie develop students’ pediatric genetic counseling skills through classroom instruction, interactive workshops and clinical rotations.

Professors Rich Goodwin and Erica Blanck (SOM Cell Biology and Anatomy) were honored in 2012 for their commitment to genetic counseling education. These professors, along with others from our basic science faculty, provide foundational education in human development in a four credit, two semester course for first year students. They go above and beyond for us every year.

The 2013 recipients of the Friend of the Genetic Counseling Program were the faculty of the Greenwood Genetic Center who have provided lecture, laboratory and clinical expertise to our students’ development since the inception of the Program in 1985. The award was presented by Dr. Ferrante himself at the May 2013 Greenwood Genetics Center case conference, at which time we recognized the significant contributions of the center and especially of Doctors Skinner, Stevenson and Everman for their consistent support of genetic counselor education.

C. Thomas Caskey, MD was the 2014 honoree, having created the impetus to launch the USC Genetic Counseling Fall Symposium with his 2013 avante-garde keynote address, “Counseling the Genome”.  Dr. Caskey continues to invest his expertise in the program.

Lydia Matesic, PhD, USC Associate Professor of Biology, was honored in 2015. Dr. Matesic challenges our students to understand the edge of genomic research technologies and where research is leading our clinical practice.

In 2016, Roz McConnaughy was recognized for investing her medical librarian expertise in the Program as she guides faculty and students in integrating the latest evidence base in thesis research and clinical practice.