Congratulations to Jess Salamone for the article in the local paper on Monday! And she gave a shout out to Northridge and to a great verse in the Bible! Read the article HERE or take a look at it below:
Written by Michelle Inclema Shippers
It’s a decision that 1 in 8 women will have to make in their lifetime: what to do after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Today, more and more women are empowering themselves to take preventative measures to avoid the statistics. Enter the genetic counselor, healthcare professionals like Jessica Salamone, who are trained in human genetics and psychosocial counseling to help people make informed decisions about their options.
Earlier this year, actress Angelina Jolie made national headlines when she announced her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy after learning she is at high risk for developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In 2007, Jolie’s mother passed away from ovarian cancer at age 56.
“Every day, I speak with women who have a family history of cancer and have never realized that there is something they can do about it,” says Salamone, who is the Certified Genetic Counselor at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care’s Genetic Counseling and Cancer Risk Assessment Office in Brighton. “They can take the power back to themselves in terms of screenings, surveillance and risk-reducing surgeries.”
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC (EWBC) is one of the largest freestanding breast imaging centers in the country and an internationally recognized leader in the field of breast imaging and breast cancer diagnosis.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t have an impact on someone,” says Salamone, who offers cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling to anyone who has developed or is at risk for developing breast and other cancers due to family history. “I am giving difficult news to patients and I have to do so in a caring way.”
As a young girl growing up outside of Binghamton, Salamone witnessed her mother undergo genetic counseling when her younger sister was born with a heart defect, an experience that influenced her career path.
She received her board certification in 2005 after completing a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the National Institutes of Health/Johns Hopkins University Genetic Counseling Training Program. She also teaches medical genetics and medical counseling courses at her undergraduate alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology.
“I always tell my students you have be a chameleon as a counselor, meaning there is not one size fits all,” she says. “There are a lot of therapeutic techniques and you have to learn in a split second how to connect with the patient.”
As a healthcare professional, Salamone believes she has a responsibility to share information with the community. She speaks at area cancer support groups and a community lecture series at EWBC while working to maintain a work-life balance for her four children.
“Getting into the community helps people understand that their worries are not their own,” she says. “The information that I have shouldn’t be a secret.”
Personal: 36, of Webster, married with four children: Ruby, 11; Tim, 9; Claire, 5; Caroline, 5. (Ruby and Claire are sisters adopted from Taiwan.)
Occupation: Certified Genetic Counselor at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care’s Genetic Counseling and Cancer Risk Assessment Office. I am also an Adjunct Professor at RIT where I teach Medical Genetics and Genetic Counseling courses;
Community activities: Guest speaker at Cancer Support Group meetings; Community Group leader for Northridge Church; volunteer at RIT Alumni events; soccer coach for my younger daughters.
My favorite thing to do in Rochester: A Saturday morning outing to Rochester’s Public Market with a stop at Juan and Maria’s for a breakfast empanada!
Biggest challenge I’ve overcome and how I did it: Being a working mother. I am constantly balancing/juggling the expectations of my career with my role as a wife and mother. I have an incredibly hard-working husband who supports my role as a genetic counselor and professor.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do but never have: Write a book! I’ve lived an incredible life and found two treasures in Taiwan. It’s a story worth being told.
If I could change one thing about myself it would be: I would be more organized. I have a real paper problem. I don’t know how to organize my piles, so I just keep moving them around!
The talent I would most like to have: As cliché as it sounds, I would love to be able to sing!
The one thing I can’t live without: My Google calendar.
My favorite movie: I honestly don’t stay awake long enough to make it through most movies!
One of my favorite sayings is: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27
A person who has inspired me (and why): I am inspired everyday by my patients who face life-altering cancer diagnoses with such grace and dignity. It puts my problems and stress over a hectic schedule into perspective. Also, my parents who believed I could go anywhere and do anything.