Interview: Erica Phillips, CG (ASCP), Clinical Cytogenetics Supervisor, Duke University Health System
In addition to her role as Cytogenetic Supervisor at Duke University Health System, Erica Phillips serves as the FGT secretary and the FGT Southeast Genetics Meeting (SERG, Alpharetta, GA, September 2018) coordinator. Together, AGT and FGT promote services that enhance recognition of the genetics profession. Please read on to learn more about Erica's involvement in these organisations, as well as news about upcoming educational and professional events.
Can you tell us about your past professional experience and how you became the manager of the laboratory —as well as a little about your laboratory?
EP: I began my career as a Cytogenetic technologist at Labcorp in 2003. I moved onto working for GeneCare which was a privately owned comprehensive genetics facility that was acquired by Alere in 2009 and became part of their Women’s and Children’s Health division. The laboratory specialized in complex diagnostic and screening tests. I managed the Cytogenetics department from 2007 until 2011. I was very fortunate to transition to Duke University Health System and take on the role as Cytogenetic Supervisor later in 2011. We provide a comprehensive, integrated approach to cytogenetic and molecular testing. Our laboratory performs chromosome analysis on a full range of samples, both neoplastic and constitutional. We also offer a comprehensive FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) menu including panels of probes for pediatric ALL, AML, CLL, MDS, and multiple myeloma. Chromosomal microarray testing is performed for constitutional abnormalities.
How did you get involved with FGT and AGT?
EP: I have been an AGT member for several years and have attended multiple AGT conferences. I was first introduced to the Southeastern Regional Genetics meeting sponsored by the FGT in 2012. I sent a group of technologists to the meeting in Charleston. In 2013, Duke was asked to sponsor the annual Southeastern Regional Genetics meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed organizing that event. Shortly after, I was nominated to serve as the FGT secretary and SERG (the Southeast FGT Genetics Meeting) coordinator. This event has since been one of my favorite projects each year. I also work with a great group of vendors and laboratory professionals that make this event possible.
How would you describe the FGT and AGT, and what benefits do you see from being involved with these organizations?
EP: Both the FGT and AGT are wonderful organizations that promote and support the genetics profession. I feel fortunate that I am able to sit on the FGT board and organize the FGT Southeastern Regional Genetics (SERG) meeting. This year while working with the GCRG planning team I have had the opportunity to meet several AGT board members and learn more about the behind the scenes with the association. I hope to become more involved with the AGT moving forward.
What are FGT and AGT looking forward to? Do you see more regional activity?
EP: I definitely see more opportunities for regional activity. This year we are introducing the inaugural Gulf Coast Regional Genetics meeting on June 1-2. We are in the home stretch of the planning process and I am certainly excited about this new regional conference. The AGT is beginning discussions for the 2019 meeting. I am looking forward to working with the team in planning another excellent educational event.
What can attendees expect from the inaugural Gulf Coast Regional Genetics Conference (GCRG)?
EP: Friday June 1st we plan to have vendor workshops beginning at noon and going until 4:00 pm. Each session will offer 2 CEU credits. A welcome reception will take place Friday evening from 5:00-7:00. Saturday we will commence at 7:30 am with breakfast, and presentations will begin at 8:00 am. 8 hours of CEU will be offered for the Saturday session.
For more information on AGT and FGT, including upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.agt-info.org. Registration information for the Gulf Coast Regional Genetics Meeting can be found here.
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