PINEHURST, N.C. -- FirstHealth of the Carolinas is expanding its cancer services team with the addition of Oncology Genetic Counselor Harleigh Quick, MMSc.
Quick recently graduated from Emory University School of Medicine with a Master of Medical Science in human genetics and genetic counseling. She received a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and psychological counseling from Coker University.
Quick’s expertise will allow FirstHealth to offer patients enhanced genetic counseling services, which can help them make more informed decisions about their care.
“The most unique aspect to oncology genetic counseling is the time we get to spend with patients. Appointments last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes and we can build strong relationships as we educate patients about the impact of genetics as they make health care decisions,” Quick said.
“Navigating health care, especially when it comes to a complex topic like genetics, can be scary. It is incredible that I have the chance to take my time to explain these topics to patients so that they feel more comfortable with their care and the decisions they must make.”
Laura Kuzma, MSW, administrative director, oncology services and clinical trials at FirstHealth, said Quick’s arrival bolsters an already world-class cancer services team.
“We know genetics can play a major role in how we might diagnose and even treat certain cancers, so having Harleigh’s unique expertise will allow us to provide better, more nuanced patient care,” Kuzma said. “As we prepare to move into our new cancer center next year, I’m excited to see how this service can be integrated with our other cancer treatment and support services.”
During a genetic counseling session, Quick and a patient will discuss medical and family history and complete a risk analysis to let a patient know their risk of having a genetic predisposition to cancer.
“Understanding the impact of genetics empowers the patient to make decisions about genetic testing and their care. I am also able to provide support to the patient and their family as they navigate genetic testing and difficult conversations that may arise,” Quick said. “Outside of a genetic counseling session, I am available to answer any questions from patients or providers about how genetic information affects cancer care.”
Quick said she decided to pursue a career in the medical field because she enjoys helping others and hearing their stories.
“It is incredibly fulfilling to care for a patient and at the same time build a relationship with that patient. Getting to know who you are caring for, listening to their life stories and then being able to help them and those they love is amazing,” she said. “When deciding on where I wanted my career to be, I also knew I wanted a community-based hospital in a more rural area like where I grew up. Being able to relate to the surrounding community and see the difference that the hospital system is making is important to me, and I am happy to have found that at FirstHealth.”
Outside of work, Quick enjoys spending time with her family and dog. She also enjoys live music, listening to podcasts and reading.
About FirstHealth Cancer Services
FirstHealth Cancer Services offers a comprehensive cancer program that combines surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy with support services and integrative medicine to enhance quality of life and minimize side effects during and after cancer treatment.