Dr. René Goliath (PhD)
REGISTERED GENETIC COUNSELLOR & MEDICAL BIOLOGICAL SCIENTIST
BSc, BSc (Med)(Hons), MSc (Genetic Counselling), PhD (Human Genetics)
Dr. Rene’ Goliath is registered with the Health Practitioners Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a genetic counsellor and as an independent medical biological scientist. She started her career in the field of Human Molecular Genetics in 1990, at the University of Cape Town (UCT) medical school in South Africa, after completing a B.Sc. undergraduate degree in Microbiology. She completed a PhD degree in the year 2000 (UCT), during which time she discovered a novel gene locus for Retinitis Pigmentosa, a retinal disorder which causes blindness - a discovery which made international headline news. She completed a period of post-graduate study at the Institute of Ophthalmology, London, in the Department of Molecular Genetics. She also holds a M.Sc. degreee in genetic counselling from the University of Cape Town. René serves on various executive committee groups in various voluntary capacities.
Her experience in the field of human genetics spans a career period in which she held various roles at the UCT medical school, including, Chief Medical Technical officer and Senior Medical Scientist (Department of Human Genetics), visiting researcher at the Institute of Ophthalmology, London, Department of Molecular Genetics, Head of the Molecular Genetic Diagnostics Laboratory (NHLS, Cape Town), B.Sc. honours course convenor (UCT), Principle investigator of research projects involving Duchenne’s muscular
dystrophy and Intellectual disabilities.
Her voluntary work includes terms as an Executive Member of the Helderberg College Council, Executive committee member of the Northern Conference Executive Committee, Executive committee member of the Southern African Union executive committee and as the board secretary of the ethics sub-committee of the Southern African Union executive committee.
SPECIALIST CLINICAL ADVISORY BOARD
Dr. Engela Honey
MBChB (Pretoria) MMed (Paed) (Stellenbosch)
GENETIC COUNSELLOR AND PAEDIATRICIAN
Dr. Honey is registered with the Health Practitioners Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Paediatrician.
She serves as a full-time senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, as a subject matter expert in Genetics in Human Health, Genetics (Honours), MBChB (Faculty of Health Science) and MMed (Paed and O&G) coursework. She has a specialization interest in children with birth defects and genetic defects and the mechanisms behind it.
Dr Honey provides genetic counselling at the network of hospitals affiliated with the University of Pretoria (Pretoria Academic Hospital, Kalafong Hospital and Witbank Hospital).
She also provides medical supervision and medical training to students undertaking specialist training in Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is also involved in pre and postgraduate training of Genetics students.
Her research focus is centered around behavioural problems in individuals with an underlying genetic disorder, particularly Prader-Willi syndrome; dysmorphic features in children with cancer; attention deficit disorder and the familial incidence; birth defects in general.
A PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATIVE CARE METHODOLOGY
GENETIC TESTING AND THE ROLE OF THE GENETIC COUNSELLOR
Given the increasing availability and complexity of genetic testing, it is imperative that practicing medical specialists involved in the care of the patient, understand the limitations and risks of offering a specific genetic test, as well as the importance of appropriate pre-test and post-test counselling. The genetic counsellor works closely with various medical specialists and other health care providers to ensure that these tests are effectively incorporated into the overall care and management of patients and to provide appropriate pre-test and post-test counselling to patients. Health care providers should determine which tests will be offered as the standard in their practices so that effective testing strategies are made available to all patients. Practices should have procedures in place that ensure timely disclosure of test results to patients. As with any medical test, expectations regarding the performance of a genetic test should be discussed with the patient before the test is ordered. After counselling, patients should have the option to decline any or all testing. Pre-test and post-test counselling should be done in a clear, objective, and non-directive fashion, which allows patients sufficient time to understand information and make informed decisions regarding testing and further evaluation or treatment. In addition to counselling each patient about their own personal risk, the risks for family members, and having affected offspring must also be fully considered.