Anica Lazetic G’23 Brings Human Compassion to her Field in Genetic Testing

Drew University’s Doctor of Medical and Health Humanities program “outshines other universities”

June 2022 – Anica Lazetic G’23 is a genetic counseling assistant (GCA) at Sema4, a genetic testing company offering a variety of genetic testing panels to their patients.

Lazetic, a Doctor of Medical and Health Humanities (DMH) student at Drew University’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, is acutely aware of the human element behind the results of every genetic test. Delivering those results with compassion is integral to providing patient-centered care.

Lazetic shared how she has been able to apply her learnings from Drew’s DMH program to provide a humanistic perspective to the scientific realm.

How is Drew’s Medical and Health Humanities program benefiting your work as a GCA?
Sema4 offers numerous genetic test panels, which include panels that screen for abnormalities within fetuses and for abnormalities that can be genetically inherited. As a GCA, I interact with numerous patients daily, answer their questions, and ensure that proper steps are taken post-testing. Also, I work closely with practitioners to ensure they are aware of abnormalities in their patients’ test results. This program taught me that every patient I interact with has a different ‘testing experience.’ Some patients may have nothing to worry about, whereas others depend on this testing to make life-changing decisions. It is normal to encounter different behaviors and experiences while working with such sensitive information. 

How do apply your learnings when working with patients and practitioners?
While working with patients, I use the resources I have learned from the program to understand the differences between testing experiences, culture, and behavior—which helps me hear patient voices and provide patient-centered care. 

While working with practitioners, I apply humanistic perspectives to the scientific realm. Instead of seeing a patient as ‘another test result,’ I perceive them as human beings who experience an array of emotions, which allows me to prioritize their test results and inform the doctor as soon as possible to ensure the patient gets the guidance they need.

Why did you choose this program?
The purpose of medical and health humanities is to provide awareness into human conditions, illness, anguish, the sensitivity of oneself, professionalism, and responsibilities to the self and those around us. When I finished my undergraduate program at Quinnipiac University in 2018, I knew I wanted to continue my education, but did not know what field. Drew University was always in my scope of interest, so when I looked into different programs, I was mesmerized by Drew’s Medical and Health Humanities program. I have always advocated for cultural differences and understood the power of culture—how it dictates who we are and how we perceive the medical world. There are numerous medical and health humanities programs, but I believe this program outshines other universities. This program focuses on educational resources that uncover a diverse way of thinking about human history, culture, behavior, and experience. These resources teach students to practice patient-centered care and properly analyze, evaluate, and impact healthcare practices and priorities. 

I chose this program because it does not want to take away from scientific findings, but emphasizes that humanities can provide additional perspectives to the sciences. This program teaches students to tread with an open mind, act compassionately, and understand the cultural disparities within our community and medical system. Lastly, this program allows individuals to advocate for others in a way that goes beyond the scope of medicine.


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