Program Leadership

Gretchen Schneider, MS, CGC, Director

Gretchen Schneider

I received my Master’s in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 1992 and began my career at Boston Children’s Hospital, where I coordinated the Neurofibromatosis Program and saw patients in the General Genetics Clinic. In 1999, I joined a new genetics initiative through Partners HealthCare where I transitioned from patient care to genetic education, serving as the Assistant Director of Educational Activities before joining the Brandeis faculty in 2008. I have been involved with the Brandeis Program since its inception-first as a clinical supervisor, thesis committee member and lecturer and most recently as Co-Director of Clinical Training. As Program Director, my roles include overseeing first year fieldwork, coordinating a course on laboratory testing, co-teaching Clinical Genetics II with Dr. Joan Stoler, working with second-year students on professional development, and serving as a thesis advisor while continuing to the high quality training that has defined this Program since it began in 1992. My contributions to the profession include being a founding member of the Massachusetts Board of Registration (Licensure) of Genetic Counselors, serving on the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) Exam Eligibility Task Force and being a member of the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD) where I have served on the Nominating Committee and the Clinical Training Work Group. I also have a long-standing interest in promoting genetic counseling as a profession and have presented to local high school students on genetic counseling as a career, spoken on “The Modern Era of Genomic Testing” during the Brandeis University Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine, participated in a Life Sciences Career Panel for graduate and undergraduate students at Brandeis, and contributed to a panel discussion on applying to graduate school at the NE Regional Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference.

Lauren Lichten, MS, CGC, Associate Director

Lauren Lichten

I received a B.A. in Molecular Biology from Colgate University in 2003 and a M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University in 2005. Prior to becoming the Associate Director in 2017, I was part of the faculty of the M.S. in Genetic Counseling Program at Boston University School of Medicine for four years and was involved in several aspects of student training including supervision, teaching, and advising student research projects. I have over a decade of clinical experience across multiple clinical areas (Maternal Fetal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Adult Neurology). Many of my patient-facing roles involved working with underserved patient populations and I continue to be passionate about the intersection of culture and genetic counseling.  As Associate Program Director, my roles include teaching Introduction to Genetic Counseling, co-teaching Clinical Genetics I with Dr. Stoler, managing all aspects of first-year observations and second-year student internships, and advising student thesis projects.  I am also a Teaching and Learning Fellow at Brandeis University for the 2018-2019 academic year.  As a participant in this program, I will receive formal instruction on teaching pedagogy and will carry out a project to determine the impact of patient simulation on student learning.  I continue to work as a clinical genetic counselor in the Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and on the Generation Study, a multisite clinical research study investigating treatment aimed at preventing the onset of Alzheimer disease.   I am currently on the planning committee for the NSGC Annual Conference, NSGC expanded carrier screening guidelines committee, ACGC program review committee, NERGG conference planning committee, board of directors for the Massachusetts chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) and am Vice-Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Genetic Counselors.  I have also been part of a genetic counseling supervision group since 2007, which meets monthly to enhance our psychosocial counseling skills through case discussions.

Joan Stoler, MD, Medical Director

joan-stolerI am a Board Certified Clinical Geneticist and have been working in clinical practice for over twenty years with expertise in many areas including dysmorphology, teratogenic exposures, connective tissue disorders and craniosynostoses. I am currently Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at Children’s Hospital, Boston where I see patients in the General Genetics, Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniofacial Clinics. I am also the Director of both the Harvard Medical School Genetics Training Program and the Medical Genetics Residency, on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics and a Member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Genetics. I have been involved with the Brandeis Genetic Counseling Program since 2002 when I began as the Medical Director and Co-Teacher of the two semester Clinical Genetics course.