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Genetic Testing: Difficult Diagnoses and Family Support presented by Marcia Van Riper, PhD, RN, FANN, School of Nursing, Family Health Division, UNC-CH

When: Tuesday February 14,2017, 12pm-2:00pm, Lunch provided (11:15am –12:00pm)

WhereUNC School of Social Work Auditorium, 325 Pittsboro Street, Chapel Hill, NC   Directions and parking

Continuing Education2 hours

Fees: Workshop fee is $35

Workshop is offered free of charge to current UNC SSW students, staff, faculty, and to current UNC SSW Field Instructors and Task Supervisors (obtain coupon code from Field Office)

$15.00 for Family and Community Members, $5.00 for UNC Students

Additional $6 charge for psychologists who would like to receive Category A credit (please bring $6 day of event)

Registration: online pre-registration  (You may pre-register up until the day before the program)


This presentation will focus on the family experience of being tested for or living with a genetic condition. Dr. Van Riper has conducted numerous studies concerning families of children with Down syndrome. Some of these studies focused on a specific event such as the diagnosis itself, others focused on the ongoing family-provider relationships, or how individuals and the family as a unit respond to the challenges associated with raising a child with Down syndrome. It is clear that the genetic-testing experience can dramatically influence the lives of family members, as well as the decisions they make since testing usually occurs during pregnancy. Understanding how families make sense of and use these test results can improve the effectiveness of healthcare providers and ultimately improve the lives of both the patients and their families.



GenMarcia Van Riper is a Professor at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. She has a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences. She is Chair of the Family Health Division and Interim Chair of the Adult and Geriatric Health Division. She received a BS in Nursing from De Paul University, a MS in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee, a MA in Bioethics (with an emphasis on genetic issues) and a PhD in Nursing and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. In 2012-2013 she was a Fulbright Scholar at University College Cork in Cork Ireland. Marcia was the first President of the International Family Nursing Association. She has an ongoing program of research on the family experience of living with genetic conditions. She is the PI of a cross-cultural study on adaptation and resilience in families of individuals with Down syndrome.



Handouts: All handouts for the event will be posted on this event’s page. [IF AVAILABLE]

Learning Objectives: 

At the completion of this program, participants will be able to

  • Learn about family responses to receiving difficult diagnosis of child’s genetic condition
  • Increase awareness of ethical issues related to genetic testing and family support
  • Learn strategies to help families deal with impact of having a child with a genetic condition
  • Learn ways to strengthen family/provider relationships to improve outcomes for children with genetic conditions and their families


  • Riper, M. V., Knafl, G., Duarte, E. D., & Choi, H. (2016). OC41-Families of children with Down syndrome: a cross-cultural study. Nursing children and young people, 28(4), 82.
  • Riper, M. V. (2016). OC43-Reproductive decision-making in families of children with Down syndrome. Nursing children and young people, 28(4), 83.
  • Van Riper, M. (2012). Changing landscape of prenatal testing: ethical and social implications for families. American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 37(3), 143.
  • Choi, H., Van Riper, M., & Thoyre, S. (2012). Decision making following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome: an integrative review. Journal of midwifery & women’s health, 57(2), 156-164.

Transportation/ DirectionsThe most reliable place to park is in the UNC Hospital lot on Manning Drive. Parking fee is $1.50/ hour. The Carolina Inn next door on Pittsboro has space-available pay parking for a flat fee of $10/day. There are also numerous “park & ride” locations in Chapel Hill, with bus service to (or near) the School of Social Work. Directions.

Payment and Refund Policies:  There will be no refunds issued, however you may transfer your place to a colleague or receive credit for future lecture. Please contact Barbara Leach at 919-966-0396 to make arrangements, or if you have any other questions.

Information on Continuing Educational Credit:

Contact hours provided for LCSWs and LMFTs hours

CEU: Two Contact Hours per event

2 Contact Hours from UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

2 Contact Hours NBCC (provider #6642) The UNC School of Social Work is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.  

Each lecture is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Psychological Association and the UNC School of Social Work. The North Carolina Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The North Carolina Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Each workshop is offered for 2 Hours of continuing education credit.

No partial credit will be given. Participants must attend the entire program in order to receive credit.

Attendance Policy:  To receive credit, you must be present for the entire session, and you must sign the sign -in and  sign-out sheets (for psychologists )

ADA Statement: If you require any of the auxiliary aids or services identified in the Americans with Disabilities Act in order to participate in this program, please call us at 919-966-0396 no later than ten business days before the program.

Additional questions? Contact Barbara Leach at or 919-966-0396


Register Here



 – UNC employee for any Department or School other than UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work

 – Field instructor/Task supervisor who is not otherwise employed as a faculty of UNC School of Social Work


ONYEN LOG IN is ONLY for UNC-CH SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK current students, staff and faculty.



CAROL ANN HINCY 919-962-6540 or