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Genetic Counseling alumna and faculty member published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling

Fayth Kalb, Genetic Counseling
Alumna, Class of 2016

Research has long suggested a correlation between heredity and substance abuse, but little research has been done on the applicability of genetic counseling for substance abuse and alcoholism.

Fayth Kalb, a 2016 graduate of the School of Medicine’s Genetic Counseling program, explored this topic with her faculty mentor Vicki Vincent, assistant professor of genetic counseling, in her Master of Science thesis. Her findings have now been published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

The survey-based study titled “Alcohol Addiction: Assessing Perceptions and Potential Utility in Individuals with Lived Experience and Their Family Members” included 113 adults with a personal and/or family history of alcohol addiction.

Participants were asked about their beliefs/concern about recurrence risk and the causes of alcohol addiction and its impact on childbearing decisions. They also were asked about their perceptions of the potential value of genetic counseling for alcohol addiction.

The study found 62 percent of participants perceived genetic counseling for alcohol addiction to be potentially beneficial. Participants were more likely to perceive a benefit from genetic counseling if they were concerned about recurrence for themselves or if they perceived genetics to be important factor in alcohol addiction.

Kalb currently works in the Division of Genetics, Birth Defects, and Metabolism, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. In addition to Kalb and Vincent, Teresa Herzog, associate professor of psychology at Francis Marion University and Jehannine Austin, associate professor of psychiatry and medical genetics at the University of British Columbia, also served as authors on the paper.

To read the full study, visit