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Anne Spencer, MS, CGC

Psychosocial Development Coordinator 

Portrait ofAnne Spencer

Anne Cottrell Spencer graduated in 1991 from the MS in genetic counseling program at the University of California, Berkeley and in 2012 earned an MA in Buddhist Studies from  the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. From 1991-1994 she worked as a pediatric genetic counselor at Children’s Hospital Seattle where she also worked on the Epidermolysis Bullosa Registry.

In 1994 she moved to Idaho where she was the first genetic counselor in the state. She worked at St. Luke’s Maternal Fetal Medicine primarily doing prenatal counseling but as the only genetic counselor in Idaho, Anne was frequently called upon to assist in other areas such as cancer, hemophilia, neurology, and public health as well as offer multiple education programs for medical professionals and the general public.  

In 2001, Spencer moved to the Idaho State Department Health where she provided pediatric genetic counseling in the Idaho State Genetics clinic and assisted with the state newborn screening follow up programs. Anne began offering counseling for presymptomatic testing for Huntington’s Disease in 1996 and in 2004 she founded a support group for families dealing with Huntington’s Disease which she continues to lead. The support group became officially affiliated with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America in 2012 and Anne served as chair of the Idaho Affiliate from 2014-2016. In 2009 Anne oversaw the transition of the pediatric genetics program from the State of Idaho to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.

Since 2011, Spencer has been affiliated with The College of Idaho, teaching undergraduate classes in Philosophy and Religious Studies including Buddhism, Japanese religions, and Bioethics, as well as serving on the Institutional Review Board, and coordinating Interfaith Programs in the Campus Ministries Office. Since 2000, Anne has made 5 trips to Japan, each time presenting on genetic counseling topics at hospitals, medical schools, and/or genetic counseling training programs, as well as informally mentoring numerous Japanese genetic counselors.

Most recently she was invited to lead extended discussions with genetic counseling students at Kyoto University and Tohoku University exploring techniques for expressing empathy and discussing how techniques differ when working with Western and Japanese clients. 

Spencer has held leadership positions at the National Society of Genetic Counselors, serving on the Board of Directors as the Social Issues Chair and as the chair of the Diversity Special Interest Group, and has served on the program committee for regional and national genetic counseling conferences.  Anne’s publications include a book chapter on cultural diversity, and peer reviewed articles in the fields of genetics, genetic counseling, and sociology of religion.  Anne is certified by the ABGC and holds a current State of Idaho Genetic Counseling License.


  • GENCOUN 501 Wellness
  • GENCOUN 530 Principles and Practices of Genetic Counseling I
  • GENCOUN 531 Principles and Practices of Genetic Counseling II
  • GENCOUN 532 Principles and Practices of Genetic Counseling III (co-instructor)
  • GENCOUN 533 Principles and Practices of Genetic Counseling IV