Ashley DeGraaf

Where did you complete your training?
I completed my Masters of Science in Genetic Counselling at the University of British Columbia in 2016

What is your special area of interest?
Cardiogenetics (genetic heart conditions) - it’s such a rapidly evolving field, and genetic counselling and genetic testing can have a significant and meaningful impact on how a person’s heart condition is managed, as well as their sense of coping and empowerment.

What is the best thing about working in the Congenital Heart Disease specialty?
The multidisciplinary team that I’m part of - I learn so much from my colleagues, and I love sharing my genetics expertise with them. It’s very rewarding being part of a collaborative team and delivering the best possible care to our patients.

What is one thing that you think that all patients with Congenital Heart Disease should know?
Some congenital heart conditions can run in families. People with these heart conditions may benefit from meeting with a genetic counsellor. A genetic counsellor will review your personal and family history, discuss causes of the heart condition and chances for other family members to be similarly affected, and if appropriate, discuss options for genetic testing. Genetic counsellors also address the psychological impact that genetic heart conditions have on patients and families, and provide support options and resources.

If you weren’t a Genetic Counsellor, what would you be?
I’ve always enjoyed teaching others, especially young people, so probably a teacher!

Do you have any interesting hobbies or talents or pets?
I have 3 black cats named Jackson, Rupert, and Ratatouille :)​