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March 7, 2014

Leading genetics researcher to speak at Hartwick College

By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Hartwick College will host a prominent national researcher this month for a discussion focused on genetics.

The 42nd annual Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Chair of Nursing Lecture Series will take place March 19 and 20 and will feature Emily Edelman, a board-certified genetic counselor and associate director of clinical and continuing education at the Jackson Laboratory, a leading genetics research lab in Maine that focuses on investigating cancer and other genetic diseases. 

The organization provides education in genetics to healthcare professionals, according to a Hartwick media release. As a genetic counselor, Edelman meets with individuals with a family history of cancer and other conditions. 

The public is invited to join a free lecture titled “Genetics, Genomics, and You” on March 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Anderson Center for the Arts Theatre at Hartwick. Practicing nurses and nurse educators only are invited to join a workshop on March 20, “Genetic & Genomic Education for Clinicians,” from 9 a.m. to noon in the Chesebro Room at Dewar Union.

For sophomore, junior and senior Hartwick nursing students, there will be another workshop, “Genomic Risk Assessment,” from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Slade Theater in Yager Hall.

While working at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, Edelman directed the development of education programs in genetics for healthcare providers, including initiatives in family health history, neurology, and cancer, according to a Hartwick media release. Before that, Edelman was a genetic counselor at the Genomic Medicine Institute at Cleveland Clinic, where she gained experience in cancer genetic counseling, cancer research, family health history and personalized medicine initiatives.

Donna Decker, coordinator for nursing opportunities at Hartwick, said the nursing faculty chooses the speaker each year and said Edelman was a good choice.

“Emily is very important in her field,” Decker said. 

The O’Connor Chair of Nursing Lecture Series happens every spring and fall, Decker said, and includes a recognition dinner for nursing affiliates.

Over the last 45 years, the O’Connor Foundation has evolved and expanded the scope of programs it funds, according to the foundation’s website. More than $425,000 is donated each year to institutes of higher learning, such as Hartwick. 

Other colleges that receive funding include State University Colleges at Binghamton, Cobleskill, Delhi and Oneonta, as well as Albany Law School, Broome Community College, Cazenovia College, Colgate University, Cornell University, Empire State College, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, Sage Colleges and Syracuse University.

The O’Connor Foundation was formed in 2965 to provide funding for religious, charitable, literary or educational purposes, according to the foundation’s website. The goal was to improve overall quality of life in rural Delaware County and surrounding areas.

Since then, grants have been provided for local healthcare, substance abuse programs, violence prevention programs, day care, scholarships, primary and secondary schools, environmental groups, economic development, churches, law enforcement, fire departments, public libraries, local historic sites, performing and visual arts, sports camps and music festivals.