Faculty and Staff

The primary faculty for the Genetic Counseling Program consists of genetic professionals within Boston University Medical Center:

Kathleen Berentsen Swenson, M.S., C.G.C., M.P.H.

Program Director, Genetic Counseling Program
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Kathleen received a B.S in Natural Science and Psychology from Muhlenberg College, an M.S. in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College, and an M.P.H. from Columbia University focusing on Population and Family Health.  Kathleen’s contributions to the genetic counseling profession range from clinical care across many specialties (prenatal, pediatrics, neurology, and cancer); advocacy work at the national level with the Children’s Tumor Foundation and at the community level with the Dominican Women’s Development Center; public health work with the New York State Department of Health;  research across multiple spheres; faculty work at the Sarah Lawrence Genetic Counseling Program; and most recently in industry as a Medical Affairs Genetic Counselor at Counsyl, Inc. Kathleen became involved in the Boston University training program in 2010 as a lecturer and has since been an active capstone advisor.  She is also an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, The New England Regional Genetics Group and the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors.  

Jodi Hoffman, MD 


Medical Director, Genetic Counseling Program
Chief, Division of Genetics

Prior to joining the Department of Pediatrics at BMC, Dr. Hoffman was Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medical, where she served as Program Director for the Medical Genetics residency. She also practiced medical genetics at Tufts Medical Center and was Director of the Victor Outreach and Screening Program for Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Diseases in Boston. She received her medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Dr. Hoffman then completed a Pediatric residency at Yale Children’s Hospital in New Haven. Dr. Hoffman’s Medical Genetics training was completed at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she developed special interests in Jewish genetic diseases, hereditary cancer syndromes, connective tissue disorders, and the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Dr. Hoffman practices as a general medical geneticist and provides counseling and diagnosis regarding prenatal care, neonates, children, and adults with genetic conditions.  Dr. Hoffman speaks throughout the Jewish community on the topic of genetic diseases seen more commonly in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. She has spoken at over 100 venues on this topic and has facilitated screening drives for 14 college campuses and communities to date.


Phil Connors, M.S., C.G.C.

PConnorsLicensed Genetic Counselor

Phil received a B.S. in Biochemistry from Northeastern University in 2012 and an M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Boston University School of Medicine in 2014. Prior to joining the BUGC team in 2015, Phil worked in the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In this role, he counseled patients for a variety of oncologic diagnoses and gained expertise in next-generation sequencing technology and the implications of gene panel testing. Phil’s clinical interests include genomic sequencing and personalized medicine, public health and public policy, and ethical considerations in genetics and genetic counseling. At Boston Medical Center, Phil is a clinical genetic counselor in the Antenatal Testing Unit and the Cancer Care Center, providing both prenatal and cancer genetic counseling services to patients and their families


Lillian Sosa, M.S., C.G.C

Licensed Genetic Counselor

Lillian received a BA in chemistry with a biochemistry concentration from Skidmore College in 2007. Prior to pursuing genetic counseling, Lillian worked as a research technician and lab manager in an epigenetics laboratory at MIT. She received her MS in Genetic Counseling from Boston University School of Medicine in 2014. Before joining the Boston University team, Lillian worked as the senior genetic counselor at Maimonides Cancer Center and the program coordinator for the Division of Pediatric Genetics at Maimonides Infants & Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. At Maimonides, Lillian served on the multidisciplinary cleft lip and palate team and was actively involved in the pediatric residency genetics core curricula. At Boston Medical Center, Lillian is a clinical counselor in the Antenatal Testing Unit, providing counseling in a prenatal setting.


Beverly Hay, M.D.

hayMedical Geneticist

Dr. Hay graduated from UC Santa Barbara with the intent to become a genetic counselor, but was waylaid by science. After 6 years of molecular genetics in a lab, she went to medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She completed her Pediatrics Residency in Rochester, NY, prior to doing a fellowship in Genetics at the NIH, where she studied immunogenetics (still her favorite subject) and gene therapy. Despite her years and interest in research, she came to find clinical genetics more compelling and moved to UMass in 2003. Currently she is most involved in clinical genetics (for children and adults), teaching students and residents, and maintaining a healthy interest in many different subjects.

Kira A. Dies, ScM, C.G.C.Dies_Kira_web
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Kira Dies received a B.A. in Biology and Spanish from Bucknell University in 1998 and a Master of Science degree (Sc.M.) in Genetic Counseling in 2003 from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and a licensed genetic counselor in Massachusetts. Her experience includes establishing a new clinic, the Comprehensive Brain Malformation Program, at Children’s Hospital Boston and coordinating research on the genetics of brain malformations and cognitive disorders. She then served as the Director of the Family Research Network for the non-profit Autism Consortium and coordinated multi-site research and family programs. Kira is currently the Program Manager for the Tuberous Sclerosis Program at Children’s Hospital Boston. She coordinates clinical trials for Tuberous Sclerosis and provides genetic counseling for patients in the Neurology department.  For the past six years, she has also been a coordinator of the Research Seminar Series for the BUSM Genetic Counseling graduate program and aids in the development of student thesis projects.

Shannon K. Barrett, M.S., C.G.C.

Medical Science LiaisonHEADSHOT_NSM

Shannon received a B.S. in Biology at the University of Iowa and an M.S. in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York in 1995.  Shannon was the Senior Genetic Counselor and Division Coordinator in the Department of Pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York and holds an academic appointment of Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics at State University of New York Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn. In 2005, Shannon joined Genzyme as a Patient Care Liaison.  In 2007, she relocated to the Boston area and now works as a Medical Science Liaison in the Personalized Genetic Health division at Genzyme-A SANOFI Company.  Her primary responsibility is the academic development of Health Care Providers in Southern New England in the management of Lysosomal Storage Diseases.  She also serves as the Encounter Group facilitator for the 2nd-year genetic counseling students at BU.

Allison L. Cirino, M.S., C.G.C

Licensed Genetic Counselor

Allison received her B.S in Biology with a minor in Psychology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She received an MS in Genetic Counseling from the Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling at Northwestern University. Since 2004, Allison has served as the clinical genetic counselor and research coordinator for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cardiovascular Genetics Center. Additional responsibilities include her role as a co-coordinator of the BUSM Genetic Counseling graduate program Research Seminar Series and a member of Partners IRB.

Meghan Towne, M.S., L.G.C.Meghan Towne

Licensed Genetic Counselor

In her role as Research Coordinator for The Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research at Boston Children’s Hospital, Meghan has helped shape the Center into a world-wide model for rare disease research. As a genetic counselor, Meghan works closely with families to ensure they have access to the information and resources they need. She played a critical role in developing the infrastructure for the Gene Discovery Core and helps each family through the consenting and enrolling processes. She has presented at international conferences and other meetings. Before coming to Boston Children’s in 2009, she earned a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Boston University. Meghan’s work at The Manton Center combines her passion for patient advocacy and her desire to help the underserved and understudied population of patients and families affected by orphan diseases.  She also serves as a coordinator of the Research Seminar Series for the BUSM Genetic Counseling graduate program and aids in the development of student thesis projects.  Meaghan currently serves as the coordinator of BU’s Research Seminar Series / Capstone Experience.

Emily Dalton, M.S., C.G.CE Dalton

Licensed Genetic Counselor

Emily earned a B.A. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She then attended the Boston University School of Medicine Genetic Counseling program, where she earned her Master’s in Genetic Counseling.  Soon after graduating, Emily started her position as a cancer genetic counselor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, where she has both clinical and research responsibilities. She has also taken an active interest in teaching at BU through guest lectures, supervising genetic counseling students, and coordinating the Social, Cultural, and Ethical Issues in Genetics course.

Katherine Schneider, M.P.H., C.G.C.Kathy Schneider

Licensed Genetic Counselor

Kathy is a Senior Genetic Counselor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and she has over 20 years genetic counseling experience.  Her primary responsibilities are to provide genetic counseling services to individuals and families at risk for inherited forms of cancer.  Ms. Schneider has served as President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and Co-Director of the New England Regional Genetics Group.  She has also served on two National Task Forces regarding genetic testing.  She recently completed the third edition of her textbook: Counseling about Cancer: Strategies for Genetic Counseling (Wiley & Sons pub.)

Steve Brady, Ph.D.

Director, Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine Programprofile-stephen-brady

Dr. Brady has been a faculty member at the Boston University School of Medicine for over 20 years. He serves as Director of the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program and is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry. He is also a past Chair of the American Psychological Association’s Council on Psychology and AIDS, current Chair of the American Mental Health Counseling Association’s Professional Development Committee, and current Secretary‐Treasurer of the Faculty Council at Boston University. He is an active clinician, and his research interest focuses on HIV and serious mental disorders. He is currently the Principal Investigator for an NIH R01 study for 2010‐2015 examining Motivational Approaches for HIV prevention for mentally ill and adults who are homeless.