Researchers and clinicians at Baylor College of Medicine are collaborating with the Texas Department of State Health Services to increase public awareness about common genetic disorders, especially in areas of Texas without full time genetic services.

With funding from the state health department, BCM’s "Evening with Genetics" series, held monthly in Houston, is expanding to these communities to help families better understand common genetic syndromes and how to care for those affected by them.

Reaching out for information

Genetics experts from BCM and Texas Children’s Hospital will travel to Amarillo, El Paso and McAllen. Topics will include Down syndrome and velo-cardio-facial syndrome, as well as developmental disorders that involve language, communication, socialization and motor skills.

Susan Fernbach, director of genetic outreach at BCM, is leading the seminar series.

"The seminars are a way of offering families, early childhood intervention specialists, special education teachers, nurses, physicians and students current information on care and research regarding genetic conditions," she said.

Parents find resources

Networking is the most important aspect of these seminars, Fernbach added. We do not want families to feel they are alone and hope to help them link to local and national resources. We welcome anyone involved in the care of children with genetic disorders to attend the seminars.

Fernbach said. "As a result of these seminars, families of children with these disorders are linking with local organizations and other families or forming their own support groups."

Previous seminars have been held in Houston and Amarillo.

Upcoming seminars include:

El Paso

Saturday, Aug. 7, in El Paso, El Paso Community College ASC Building A, 9050 Viscount Blvd., 79925

  • "Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (22q11.2 deletion) - Charting a course for success!" 9:30-11 a.m.
  • "Medical issues in children with developmental disabilities: how to help your child." 1–2:30 p.m.


Saturday, Aug. 28, in McAllen, South Texas College Auditorium, 3201 W. Pecan, 78501

  • "Updates on Down Syndrome" 9:30-11 a.m.
  • "Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome: 22q11.2 deletion. Charting a course for success!" 1–2:30 p.m.

Simultaneous translation to Spanish will be offered for each of these seminars. For more information or to register, visit the Evening with Genetics web site, or contact Susan Fernbach at 832-822-4182 or