Robin Bennett , MS, LGC, PhD Hon.


Senior Genetic Counselor & Co-Director, Genetic Medicine Clinics

University of Washington
Box 357720, CHDD 411
Seattle, WA 98195-7720

Phone: (206) 598-4030
FAX: (206) 598-3269


Since graduating in 1984 from the Sarah Lawrence Human Genetics Program, Ms. Bennett has served as Senior Genetic Counselor and Clinic Manager for the University of Washington Medical Genetics Clinics. She is certified in genetic counseling by the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Genetic Counseling. She currently serves as the Senior Genetic Counselor and Co-Director of the Genetic Medicine Clinic and she is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Medicine.

In 2009, she was granted an honorary Doctor of Science from Kenyon College for her work as an author and genetic counselor.

Ms. Bennett has been honored with one of the highest awards from the University of Washington with the 2008 Distinguished Staff Award. In 2007 she was awarded the "Natalie Weissberger Paul Lifetime Achievement Award" from the National Society of Genetic Counselors, and in 2005 she was honored with the NSGC Regional Leadership Award. She is also a 2007 recipient of the "Women to Celebrate" award from the Seattle Times, the Seattle PI, the YWCA and ACT Theater. In 2006 she was the receipient of the University of Washington Patient and Family Educator Award. In 2001 her work on developing genetic counseling practice guidelines for consanguinity received the NSGC award for the best abstract, and the publication of this work in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of Genetic Counseling received world-wide acclaim. Ms. Bennett has been a forerunner in the development of genetic counseling practice recommendations including developing criterion for pedigree nomenclature that are now the world standard and they are included in the American Medical Association Manual of Style.

She is a popular speaker including a lecturer in the Seattle Public Library/UW School of Medicine Medical Lecture Series, and has extensive publications related to her work in Huntington disease, consanguinity, neurogenetics, cancer genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, genetic family history, and ethical issues in genetic counseling and genetic testing. She has authored two books including the recent release, The Practical Guide to the Genetic Family History.

Ms. Bennett is Past President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors ( and served on the Steering Committees of the Coalition for Genetic Fairness. For 7 years she has served on the Board of NCHPEG—the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics ( where she is Chair of the Family History Working Group. She was a member of the Genetics Privacy, Discrimination and Research Legislative Task Force (GTF) of the Washington State Board of Health (

She has served on advisory panels for groups such as the Center for Disease Control, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and the Institute of Medicine. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Genetic Counseling. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show during a segment featuring a family with the BRCA1 gene mutation.

She has also appeared in a show on Cancer Genetics called "Is Cancer Hiding in Your Family History?". It is viewable here.

Representative Articles

Bennett RL (2010) Practical Guide to the Genetic Family History, 2nd edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Pletcher BA, Toriello HV, Noblin SJ, Seaver LH, Driscool DA, Bennett RL, Gross SJ (2007) Indications for genetic referral: a guide for healthcare professionals. Genet Med 9:385-389.

Bennett RL, Steinhaus French K , Resta RG, Doyle DL (2008) Standardized Human Pedigree Nomenclaure: Update and assessment of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. K Genet Couns 17(5): 424-433.

Bennett RL, Callanan N, Gordon E, Karns L, Mooney KH, Ruzicka R. Schmerler S, Weissman S: National Society of Genetic Counselors Code of Ethics Work Group (2006) Code of Ethics of the National Society of Genetic Counselors; Explication of Revisions. J Genet Couns 15:313-323.

McConkie-Rosell A, Finucane B, Cronister A, Abrams L, Bennett RL, Pettersen BJ (2005). Genetic Counseling for Fragile X Syndrome: Updated Recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. J Genet Couns 14:249-270. (accepted in National Guidelines Clearinghouse,

Ciarleglio L, Bennett RL, Williamson J, Mandell J, Marks J (2003) Genetic counseling through the lifecycle. J Clinic Invest 112(9):1279-1286.

Bennett RL, Hampel HA, Mandell J, Marks J (2003) Genetic counselors--translators of genomic medicine. J Clinic Invest 112(9):1274-1279..

Bennett RL, Motulsky AG, Bittles AH, Uhrich SA, Doyle DL, Silvey KA, Cheng E, Steiner RA, McGillivray B (2002) Genetic counseling and screening of consanguineous couples and their offspring: recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. J Genet Couns 11(2):97-119. Letter to the Editor, Reply to Becker and Morgan, J Genet Couns, Oct. 2002

Bennett RL (1999) The Family Tree. Genet Med 1(3):119-120.