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Joan Marks Dies

Joan Marks, the long-time director of the genetic counseling program at Sarah Lawrence College, has died, according to the New York Times. She was 91.

The Times adds that Marks took over the program when it was a few years old and developed it into the largest genetic counseling program in the US. "We created the concept that a non-physician genetic counselor could not only assume some of the responsibilities of physicians in terms of medical genetic care, but also would do a better job because they were better trained in genetics and in counseling," she told the Times in 1994.

She oversaw the Sarah Lawrence program for 26 years, it notes, adding that there are now numerous genetic counseling programs in the US modeled after Sarah Lawrence's approach.

"She pioneered and sustained the creation of an entirely new field of study and endeavor in genetic counseling, benefitting millions of people across the globe, and contributing immeasurably to societal and individual understanding of the human genome," Cristle Collins Judd, the president of Sarah Lawrence, says in a statement.