Leadership, Faculty & Staff

Megan Bell discusses research with Kayleigh Avello.

Professor Megan Bell has a discussion with Kayleigh Avello (Class of 2018) during a research class.

Leadership Bios

Part-time Faculty Bios

Staff Bios


Leadership

Quinn Stein, MS, CGC

Program Director

Quinn Stein is the Director of the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at Augustana University. He is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetic Counseling. Quinn is a North Dakota native, who has called Sioux Falls home for over 17 years. Prior to his role at Augustana, he was the Senior Genetic Counselor at Sanford Health. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Jamestown, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Religion. He holds a master’s degree in Medical Genetics-Genetic Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His professional interests include pediatric/metabolic genetics, rare disease, Down syndrome, genetics in primary care, workforce development, and genesurance counseling. Quinn has published numerous articles on topics such as hereditary cancer, autism, obesity, newborn screening, genetic diseases in the Hutterite population, billing-reimbursement, and on several rare genetic disorders. He has earned grants to establish a pediatric hearing loss clinic and to help study rare diseases diagnosed by newborn screening. He is also a member of the Inborn Errors of Metabolism Collaborative (IBEMC), a national newborn screening research group working toward the development of evidence-based treatment protocols for children diagnosed with rare metabolic conditions.

Quinn served as Vice Chair of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) annual conference in Boston in 2012 and Chair of the same conference in Anaheim for 2013. He sat on the NSGC Board of Directors in 2014-2015 and continues to find ways to give back to the profession he loves. He holds professional certification from the American Board of Genetic Counselors and is licensed by the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, holding Genetic Counselor License #0001. He enjoys his family, baseball, and sitting in rocking chairs. He tolerates running, cycling, and landscaping. Quinn is also president of Blue Goat Capital, a very small but fun investment club.

Instructs: Genomics and Business, Genetic Counseling I and IV, and Genetics in Medicine I and II


Becca Loman, MS, CGC

Assistant Program Director-Sioux Falls

Becca Loman is the Sioux Falls-based Assistant Program Director. In addition to her role at Augustana, she also works at Sanford Health in Women's Health. She has been with Sanford Health for the past three years, primarily working in pediatric genetics and pediatric sub-specialty clinics. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Augustana University, a Master of Science in Clinical Anatomy from Creighton University, followed by a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Her research interests focus on professional development for practicing genetic counselors. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and family, being outdoors, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

Instructs: Diversity in Genetic Counseling, Seminar in Medical Genetics/Journal Club, Genetic Counseling II, and Communication and Interviewing Skills for the Genetic Counselor


Taylor Berninger, MS, MA, MEd, CGC

Assistant Program Director-San Diego

Taylor Berninger is the San Diego-based Assistant Program Director. She also works at the University of California San Diego in Fetal Care and Genetics. She was previously employed at Human Longevity, Inc., and, prior to that, she worked at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), providing prenatal, cancer, cardiology, neurology, and general adult consultations. Taylor was selected as the recipient of the Command Star Performer Award for July 2014 to recognize service excellence and patient- and family-focused care. Before working at NMCSD, she worked at the Greater Los Angeles VA, providing cancer and adult genetic consultation and participating in health systems research projects. Taylor received her master’s in Genetic Counseling and master’s in Medical Humanities and Bioethics from Northwestern University in 2011 and 2015, respectively. She also holds a master’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and was a member of the Teach For America St. Louis Corps for two years. She is an active volunteer for both NSGC and ABGC. In her spare time, she enjoys stand-up paddle boarding, hiking with her dogs, and learning to play the ukulele.

Instructs: Diversity in Genetic Counseling, Seminar in Medical Genetics/Journal Club, Genetic Counseling II, and Ethics in Genetics and Biomedical Sciences


Dr. Gene Hoyme, MD

Co-Medical Director

Dr. H. Eugene (Gene) Hoyme is a Co-Medical Director for the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, representing its Midwestern presence. Additionally, Dr. Hoyme serves as an advisor in genetics and genomic medicine at Sanford Health, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, and the University of Arizona, and he is Medical Director for the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium, a formal collaborative in pediatric precision medicine among seven major children's hospitals in the western United States. Dr. Hoyme has held several leadership positions with Sanford Health and academic appointments and leadership posts at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, and the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington.

Dr. Hoyme has been a leader in regional and national clinical and research organizations in pediatrics and medical genetics, and he is internationally known for his work with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). He has received various local, regional, and national awards in research, teaching, and mentorship, some of which include the Western Society of Pediatric Research’s Joseph W. St. Geme Jr. Education Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in pediatric education (2011), the National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Excellence Award (2012), and the American Academy of Pediatrics David W. Smith Education and Mentorship Award (2016). He has authored over 400 original articles, book chapters, monographs, electronic publications, and research abstracts, and he is a co-author of the textbook Signs and Symptoms of Genetic Conditions: A Handbook (Oxford University Press).

Dr. Hoyme often guest lectures and is a favorite of our students. He is a talented and engaging teacher both in the clinic and classroom and has a knack for simplifying complex topics and artfully explaining anything ranging from dysmorphology to genomic medicine. He recently served as the first author of revised NIH expert consensus diagnostic guidelines for FASD, based on his evaluation for potential FASD of more than 10,000 children worldwide over 20+ years.

A native of Dell Rapids, SD, Dr. Hoyme received his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Augustana University before completing medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency and dysmorphology fellowship at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. He is board-certified in pediatrics, clinical genetics, and clinical cytogenetics and is a member of numerous professional organizations.


Dr. Marilyn Jones, MD

Co-Medical Director

Dr. Marilyn C. Jones is a Co-Medical Director for the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, representing its San Diego presence. Dr. Jones also serves as the Clinical Service Chief of the Genetics and Dysmorphology Department at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, a position she has held since 1979. She holds an appointment as Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego.

Dr. Jones has served in multiple leadership roles, including Medical Director of the Bernardy Center for Medically Fragile Children, Director of the UCSD Prenatal Diagnosis Center, and as President for the Western Society for Pediatric Research, American College of Medical Genetics, and American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. Under her leadership, the American College of Medical Genetics set standards and practice guidelines for clinical genetics in the United States. Dr. Jones is an award-winning expert in the field of craniofacial anomalies and specializes in treating cases of cleft lip and palate. In 2011, she received the Alumae Achievement Award from Wellesley College. She has numerous publications and is a co-author of the textbook Smith’s Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation.

Dr. Jones is highly regarded for her work as an excellent clinician, colleague, mentor, and teacher. She is also recognized for her work in providing genetic care, and training others to provide this care, to children in remote and underserved communities internationally.

Dr. Jones received her undergraduate degree in Art History from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, in 1970 and her MD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency and fellowship at the University California San Diego School of Medicine. She is board-certified in pediatrics and clinical genetics.


Part-time Faculty

Megan Bell, ScM, CGC

Megan Bell is a genetic counselor with Sanford Imagenetics. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN and her Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling from Johns Hopkins/National Human Genome Research Institute Genetic Counseling Training Program in Baltimore, MD. Her research interests include understanding how families adapt to the uncertainty of genetic conditions and the process of genetic counseling for multifactorial conditions.

Instructs: Genetic Counseling Research I, II, III, and IV


Shelby Brown, MS, CGC

Shelby Brown is a pediatric genetic counselor in the Children’s Specialty Clinic at Sanford Health. She received a BS in Mathematics and a minor in Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and her MS in Genetic Counseling from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. During her second year of graduate school, Shelby trained in Sioux Falls, where she also worked on research about the roles and responsibilities of genetic counselors with regards to genesurance. As well as working in the traditional genetics clinic, she participates in outreach clinics, coordinates a Down Syndrome clinic, and is involved in the South Dakota Newborn Screening Program. Shelby also has an appointment as a clinical instructor with the University of South Dakota Sanford School Of Medicine.

Instructs: Genetics in the Community I and II


Kristen De Berg, MS, CGC

Kristen De Berg is a cardiovascular genetic counselor at Sanford Health. She received her BA in Biology from Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA, and her MS in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. Kristen continued her education, obtaining a MS in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, where her thesis focused on women and Fabry Disease. In addition to her work at Sanford Health, she has held an appointment as a Clinical Instructor for the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine since 2010. Kristen is an active member of the Sanford Health Regional and Enterprise Ethics Committee and a site visitor for the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). Much of Kristen’s research has focused on genetic conditions in the Hutterite community.

Instructs: Reproductive Genetics


Jay Flanagan, MS, CGC

Jay Flanagan grew up on a small farm in Jasper, MN. He graduated from the Genetic Counseling Program at the University of Wisconsin in 2005 and was board certified in 2007. He has been with Sanford Health since graduation, primarily serving in Women’s Health. His current clinical focus is on infertility and reproductive medicine.

In 2009, Jay was part of the committee that secured licensure for genetic counselors in South Dakota. He was the 2012 Sanford Health Employee of the Year and the 2014 recipient of the Star Nursing Award through Sanford Health. He is a member of the NSGC, was chair of the 2016 Annual Education Conference, and, in 2016, was elected to the NSGC board. Additionally, he is a member of the NSGC expert media panel and has written many blog posts http://nsgc.org/p/bl/et/blogid=53&blogaid=266.
Jay serves as the Enterprise Director of Genetic Counseling at Sanford Health, is an active supervisor for the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, and is a faculty member at the Sanford School of Medicine. He is dedicated to helping patients understand biology so they feel knowledgeable in making responsible healthcare decisions, and his hope is not just to provide answers to a patient’s questions but to listen to their concerns. Jay is married with two children and enjoys sports and recreational activities.

Instructs: Genetic Counseling III


Amy Mroch, MS, CGC

Amy Mroch is a laboratory genetic counselor for Sanford Health, serving as a liaison between genetic laboratories and ordering providers, as well as providing remote genetic counseling services. She received her BS in Human Biology with a specialization in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society from Michigan State University, and her MS in Genetic Counseling from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. Prior to her current position with Sanford Health, Amy was a pediatric genetic counselor at the Sanford Children’s Specialty Clinic, followed by work as a cancer genetic counselor for both Spectrum Health Cancer Genetics and InformedDNA. In addition to her master’s thesis research, which investigated religious views of genetic counselors, Amy has conducted research with the Prenatal Alcohol and SIDS and Stillbirth (PASS) Network, including participating in a clinic in South Africa.

Instructs: Genetic Diagnosis and Laboratory Methods


Lisa Ohden, MS, CGC

Lisa Ohden is a pediatric genetic counselor in the Children’s Specialty Clinic at Sanford Health. She received a BS in Biology from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, and her MS in Genetic Counseling from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. While in graduate school, Lisa was the primary investigator for a study regarding breast screening in women at risk for cancer. In addition to coordinating the general genetics clinic, Lisa also participates in multiple multidisciplinary clinics, organizes family events in the community, and has an appointment as a Clinical Instructor for the University of South Dakota Sanford School Of Medicine.

Instructs: Genetics in the Community I and II


Andrea Procko, MS, PhD, CGC

Andrea Procko is a genetic counselor at UC San Diego Health in Maternal-Fetal Care and Genetics as well as an adjunct professor for the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. She previously worked as a genetic counselor at Human Longevity, Inc. on research with elective genome sequencing. Andrea received her master's in Genetic Counseling at the University of California, Irvine, where her research focused on genome sequencing in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is an active member and volunteer of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Prior to becoming a genetic counselor, Andrea earned a PhD in Molecular Genetics from Rockefeller University, investigating cell cycle control which is important in the development of cancer. She was also an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego and The New School in New York City. She loves the outdoors, including snorkeling and hiking, traveling, and spending time with people (and animals) that she loves.

Instructs: Genetics and the Community I and II


Larissa Risty, MS, CGC

Larissa Risty is a genetic counselor with the Edith Sanford Breast Center at Sanford Health. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and licensed in North Dakota and South Dakota. She received a BS in Mathematics from South Dakota State University in 2006 and a MS in Genetic Counseling from the University of Utah in 2010. She has worked at Sanford Health since 2010. Her primary role is Project Director of the Edith Sanford Athena Breast Health Program. She also provides cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling services at the Sanford Health Cancer Center. Larissa helped to establish professional licensure for genetic counselors in the state of North Dakota, which was implemented in 2013. She is active in the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Her research interests include cancer risk assessment, targeted cancer therapies, and the health care transition from pediatric to adult medicine for individuals with special health care needs.

Instructs: Cancer Genetics


Gretchen Spars-McKee, MDiv, MBe

Photo coming! Gretchen Spars-McKee is an ethicist with the DeGroot Center at Sanford Health and holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv) and a Master of Arts in Bioethics (MBe). She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana (College) University and completed her graduate work at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. In addition to her work at Sanford Health, Gretchen is also the creator of and coordinator for the Sanford USD School of Medicine Certificate in Bioethics program. Gretchen enjoys teaching, consulting, integrative therapies, narrative ethics, and spending time with her two young girls and husband.

Instructs: Ethics in Genetics and Biomedical Sciences


Taylor Zuck, MS, CGC

Taylor Zuck received her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2015 and then started her genetic counseling career as a pediatric genetic counselor for Sanford Health. She currently works as a genetic counselor with the neurology program at GeneDx. In her spare time, Taylor enjoys volunteering with Sibshops and Special Olympics.

Instructs: Metabolic Genetics and Newborn Screening


Staff

Amy Littel, MS

Program Coordinator

Amy Littel has been at Augustana University since 2014 and is the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program Coordinator as well as the Augustana University Grants Coordinator. In her roles, she enjoys organizing, liaising, editing/revising, and using technology to improve processes, in addition to learning about genetics through her interaction with the ASGCGP. Amy has a master's degree in Health Informatics and a bachelor's degree in Economics with a minor in Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the movies, traveling, baking, and shopping online.