• Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic

    The Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic (HIGCC) is for families and patients, including adults and children, with or at risk for heritable cardiovascular disorders. Our team includes three licensed and board-certified genetic counselors with special interest and expertise in inherited cardiovascular disease.

    One of the goals of the HIGCC is to help individuals and their physicians understand and utilize genetic information to make personalized and appropriate screening and medical management decisions. It is important to integrate genetic information as part of a personalized healthcare plan. The HIGCC can make recommendations regarding healthcare management and provide referrals to appropriate specialists, if necessary.

    Services at the Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic include:

    • Collection and evaluation of medical and family histories
    • Review of natural history
    • Identification and discussion of genetic testing
    • Discussion and recommendations for the most appropriate, accurate and cost-effective methods of diagnosis
    • Integration of genetic testing and other results tests with individual and family medical histories
    • Pre-test counseling and facilitation of genetic testing
    • Post-test counseling, which includes interpretation and explanation of genetic testing results
    • Counseling and guidance related to the genetic diagnosis and risk for family members
    • Identification and use of community resources that provide medical, educational, financial and psychosocial support and advocacy

    Patients and families who may benefit:

    • Individuals with a diagnosis or family history of hereditary cardiovascular disorders including but not limited to:
      Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
      Dilated cardiomyopathy
      Restrictive cardiomyopathy
      Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy
      Left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy
      Congenital heart disease (hypoplastic left heart syndrome, tetralogy of fallot, etc.)
      Familial hypercholesterolemia
      Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
      Brugada syndrome
      Long QT syndrome
    • Individuals who have had prior genetic testing and would like additional interpretation and information about the result and associated implications
    • Individuals who have a family member with a known genetic change or mutation
    • Individuals who have questions about the risk of heart disease based on the family history
  • Our team is comprised of three genetic counselors with interest and expertise in inherited cardiovascular diseases. 

    Erin M. Miller, MS, CGC, received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Arizona in Tucson.  She attended the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program in the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University, where she received her master’s of science in genetic counseling in 2005. She joined the Division of Human Genetics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and provided clinical genetic counseling services in the prenatal, pediatric, cancer and adult setting. Erin developed an interest in cardiovascular genetics and helped to develop a Diagnostic Cardiomyopathy Clinic in 2006. In 2009 she joined the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s to develop integrated genetics and genetic counseling services for patients and families with heart disease. Erin has a clinical and research interest in the genetics of inherited cardiovascular disease, the uptake and use of genetic testing by patients and families and strives to improve access to genetic counseling services and awareness about hereditary cardiovascular disease among healthcare providers and the community. Erin is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and Cardiovascular Special Interest Group. Erin serves as a research mentor and clinical supervisor of the genetic counseling graduate program at the University of Cincinnati.

    Ashley Parrott, MS, LCGC, received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. After working as a genetics assistant in pediatric genetics at the University of Kentucky, she went on to get her Masters in genetic counseling from the University of Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Graduate Program in 2010. Ashley joined the Heart Institute following graduation and has expertise in a number of inherited cardiovascular diseases including cardiomyopathy, aortic disease, congenital heart disease and a number of genetic syndromes associated with cardiovascular disease including Noonan syndrome, Deletion 22q1.2 syndrome, Williams syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, Alagille syndrome and Marfan syndrome and related disorders. Ashley helped to develop integrated genetic counseling services for the Fetal Heart Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Ashley is a member of the Practice Guidelines committee and Cardiovascular Special Interest Group for the National Society of Genetic Counselors. She serves as a mentor and clinical supervisor for the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at the University of Cincinnati.

    Amy Shikany, MS, LCGC, received her bachelor of science degree in biological sciences from the George Washington University in Washington, DC in 2007. After working as a research assistant in the Laboratory for Evolutionary Neuroanatomy at George Washington University , she went on to get her masters of science in human genetics from the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY in 2010. She joined the Heart Institute following graduation. Amy integrated genetic counseling services and coordinates the Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic. She also provides laboratory genetic counseling through the Heart Institute Diagnostic Laboratory, which offers clinical molecular testing for cardiovascular diseases including cardiomyopathy, aortic aneurysm and dissection, Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome and congenital heart disease. Amy serves as an item writer for the American Board of Genetic Counseling Board Certification Examination and is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and Cardiovascular Special Interest Group. She also serves as a mentor and clinical supervisor for the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at the University of Cincinnati.

    Each new patient in the Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center meets with a licensed and board certified cardiovascular genetic counselor at the time of their clinic appointment. A comprehensive family history and past medical history are obtained and medical records are reviewed.

    It may be helpful to think about how you would feel talking about your personal or family history of cardiovascular disease. Some individuals find it helpful to bring someone to help provide family history information, to ask questions and to provide support during the visit.

    Request An  Appointment
    Our team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center prefers that each patient provide a written referral from a physician who is willing to speak with a member of the clinical staff, if desired.

    Written referrals allow the genetic counselors to serve as a resource for other healthcare professionals caring for and managing many of the day-to-day symptoms of the patients. While referrals are preferred, they are not required.

    Referrals can be faxed to the attention of the clinic at 513-803-1748. Please include:

    * Referring physician's name
    * Complete address
    * Phone number
    * Patient information
    * Reason for referral

    Before the first appointment, it will be helpful to collect information about family members who have had cardiovascular disease. Important information includes:

      • What type of cardiovascular disease a family member had
      • At what age the individual was diagnosed or experienced symptoms
      • Heart-related procedures you or your family members may have had
      • If a relative is deceased, the age and cause of death

    Medical reports can sometimes be helpful, including echocardiogram and ECG reports, hospital medical records, autopsy reports and death certificates. This can assure that accurate information is used in assessing your family’s risk. Although these documents may be helpful, they are not always necessary for risk assessment.

    Family History is an Important Part of Your Genetic Evaluation

    A family history of cardiovascular disease can increase your own risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Learning more about your relatives who have had cardiovascular disease is an important step in determining your own risk. Health problems can be difficult to discuss, even with family members. It may be helpful to your relatives to know why you are asking about their health. Explain that the entire family could benefit from having the information.

    Because family health history is such a powerful screening tool, the surgeon general has created a new computerized tool to help make it fun and easy for anyone to create a sophisticated portrait of their family’s health.

    The web-based tool helps users organize family history information and then print it to give to their healthcare providers. In addition, the tool allows users to save their family history to their own computer and even share it with family members. Access the My Family Health Portrait web tool.

    The Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic is held in Cardiology on the fourth floor of Location C. Clinic appointments are available on Tuesdays (pm) and Wednesdays (am).  

    Erin Miller, MS, LCGC
    Phone: 513-636-4729  or erin.miller@cchmc.org

    Ashley Parrott, MS, LCGC
    Phone: 513-803-3318 or ashley.parrott@cchmc.org

    Amy Shikany, MS, LCGC
    Phone: 513-803-3317 or amy.shikany@cchmc.org
    Fax: 513-803-1748

    For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 513-636-4729.

  • Genetic Counseling Clinic.
  • Contact Us

    For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 513-636-4729. To speak with a genetic counselor call 513-803-3317 or email amy.shikany@cchmc.org.