My top priority is to meet the needs of my patients by providing personalized education regarding their genetic risks.
Cara L. Barnett, MS, LGC



I am a genetic counselor who specializes in cardiovascular genetics. I work with families at risk for inherited heart conditions such as arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, lipid disorders, connective tissue disorders and congenital heart defects.

My care philosophy centers around the needs and desires of the patient and family. At the start of every visit, I ask my patients what they would like to discuss and what their goals are for the appointment. My top priority is to meet the needs of my patients by providing personalized education regarding their genetic risks. Cardiovascular genetic counseling at Cincinnati Children's is available to pediatric and adult patients of all ages who are interested in learning about their genetic health.

I chose cardiovascular genetic counseling due to a desire to provide families with knowledge regarding the genetic background of their or their child's diagnosis in the hope of providing medical empowerment. I was drawn to genetics in high school when I first learned about chromosomes, and my interest grew throughout my undergraduate education in biology. I wanted to work with children because of the insight they provide regarding their illnesses and needs. I've found that children can teach their parents and providers about resilience and strength in light of a diagnosis. I also work with adults and can provide holistic care for the family unit.

Genetic counseling is not the same as genetic testing. While most patients elect to pursue genetic testing, it is not a requirement of the appointment. My job as a genetic counselor is to provide the patient with adequate information to make the most beneficial decisions for their health.

My research focuses on the outcomes of genetic counseling and testing. This includes studying the patient and family experience and ways to improve access to genetics services. My colleagues and I also study the impact of developments in genetic testing technologies, including new gene discovery and further characterization of cardiovascular genes.

When I'm not at work, I enjoy hiking, running and horseback riding. I love traveling and have a goal to visit all the national parks in the United States–I'm about one-third of the way there!

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