History of the HGSA

The Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA)

Introduction

The Human Genetics Society of Australasia is a vibrant professional society of 1000 members that promotes the practice of diagnostic and clinical genetics in Australia and New Zealand. Formed in 1976 and formally incorporated in 1977, the Society holds an Annual Scientific Meeting each year with visiting international and national speakers.

Members typically hold both a qualification and are employed in a position relevant to Human Genetics. Membership is drawn from clinical, laboratory and academic specialties, and includes clinical geneticists, genetic counsellors and laboratory scientists (molecular, cytogenetic and biochemical genetics) and academic researchers. For almost four decades, the HGSA has successfully trained and certified most clinicians and laboratory scientists working in the field of Human Genetics in Australia and New Zealand.

In our unified intent to support the genetic health of the Australian and New Zealand population HGSA members value communication with all our clinical and laboratory colleagues. The Society contributes to all major debates and advocates for the safe, ethical and effective use of genetic information in healthcare. The HGSA is regularly called upon as the expert body to contribute to national and international initiatives that involve human genetics.

Significant recent advances in genetic technologies have resulted in an increasing range of options to improve health, modify genetic predisposition and save lives. Genetic information is being made available to an increasing numbers of patients and health care providers.

The HGSA is focussed on:

Integrating genomic medicine (technology and clinical) into healthcare in both Australia and New Zealand to benefit patients
promote training and standards for both clinical genetics and laboratory genetics throughout Australia and New Zealand
promote “genetic literacy” through the education of health professionals and the general public to ensure safe, ethical and effective use of genetic information in healthcare

Challenges

The HGSA continues to be concerned about a number of issues that involve the use of genetic technologies in healthcare. Current challenges include the:

training of genetic laboratory scientists and genetic counsellors
introduction of innovative genetic technology into healthcare in the absence of ongoing education of health professionals regarding the benefits/limitations and complications of such technology

History and Development of the HGSA