Kimberly Zayhowski, MS, CGC is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine and Faculty Member of Boston University Master’s Program in Genetic Counseling. Kim received her BS from Brandeis University, triple majoring in Neuroscience, Biology, and Psychology, and minoring in Mathematics. She received her MS in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling from Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the Boston University Genetic Counseling Program team in 2020, Kim worked at UMass Memorial Medical Center, counseling patients in general, prenatal, cancer, and cardiac genetics clinics. She then worked at Boston Medical Center as a cancer genetic counselor, and currently works in clinical research. A queer, multiracial genetic counselor, Kim’s research within genetic counseling has primarily focused on improving equity in healthcare for communities that continue to be marginalized. She dedicates much of her time to educating genetic counselors on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community through talks, blogs, and research, including several published studies on improving genetic counseling services for gender diverse patients. Kim co-leads a virtual process group for LGBTQIA+ genetic counselors and students. She is also an active member of the Minority Genetics Professionals Network and Boston Minority Genetic Counselors. She was awarded the AGCPD Outstanding Clinical Supervisor Award in 2021 and the NSGC Leader in Cultural Advocacy Award in 2022.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility
The faculty of the BU Genetic Counseling Program recognize and celebrate differences in ethnicity, race, gender identity, disability status, religion, sexuality, immigration status and socioeconomic backgrounds in our learning community. As we provide care and train learners at Boston Medical Center, an institution serving historically marginalized patients and clients, we work to integrate issues related to diversity, inclusion, justice and equity throughout all aspects of our curriculum. We are devoted to developing faculty’s and students’ roles as advocates for our colleagues and patients, and uplifting the voices of those who have been disempowered by the medical system.
As a multiracial, queer genetic counselor, I am committed to improving diversity and inclusivity within the notoriously homogeneous field of genetic counseling and to understanding and elevating excluded voices. I mentor several genetic counseling students through the Minority Genetics Professionals Network and served on the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Action Plan Task Force through the National Society of Genetic Counselors. I am a member of the Boston Minority Genetic Counselors Network and the NHGRI Inter-Society Coordinating Committee for Practicing Education in Genomics. I also founded and run a process group for LGBTQIA+ genetic counselors, and have advocated for inclusivity for the LGBTQIA+ community through local, national, and soon international talks; blogs; mentorship; and podcasts. At Boston Medical Center as a cancer genetic counselor, I have advocated for patients who have been systemically excluded from the healthcare system, as well as worked with students to develop their clinical skills. All of these experiences have shaped my growth as a genetic counselor, an educator, and an advocate for inclusivity.
Human-centered design study to inform hereditary breast cancer risk assessment prior to gender affirming top surgery
06/15/2023 - 04/01/2025 (PI)National Society of Genetic Counselors
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other
sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can
to make corrections and additions.
Showing 10 of 14 results.
O'Sullivan L, Zayhowski K, Hoffman E, Carmichael N. A qualitative study of LGBTQIA+ genetic counselors' experiences while applying to graduate school. J Genet Couns. 2023 Aug 13. PMID: 37574455; DOI: 10.1002/jgc4.1760;
Gunn CM, Gignac G, Hardy B, Zayhowski K, Pankowska M, Loo S, Wang C. Characterizing Referrals for Prostate Cancer Genetic Services in a Safety-Net Hospital. JCO Oncol Pract. 2023 Oct; 19(10):852-859.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37384869; DOI: 10.1200/OP.23.00055;
Llorin H, Zayhowski K. The erasure of transgender and intersex identities through fetal sex prediction and genetic essentialism. J Genet Couns. 2023 Oct; 32(5):942-944. PMID: 37306043; DOI: 10.1002/jgc4.1736;
Chu V, Zayhowski K, Collin CR, Carmichael N. A qualitative study exploring LGBTQ genetic counseling students' relationships with peers and faculty in graduate school. J Genet Couns. 2023 May 24. PMID: 37222227; DOI: 10.1002/jgc4.1724;
Epstein R, Fuerstman L, Heidlebaugh A, Schiller J, Zayhowski K. Experiences of genetic counseling students with disabilities and chronic illnesses: A qualitative study. J Genet Couns. 2023 May 16. PMID: 37194122
Rolle L, Zayhowski K, Koeller D, Chiluiza D, Carmichael N. Transgender patients' perspectives on their cancer genetic counseling experiences. J Genet Couns. 2022 06; 31(3):781-791.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34964220; DOI: 10.1002/jgc4.1544;
Rajkovic A, Cirino AL, Berro T, Koeller DR, Zayhowski K. Transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) individuals' perspectives on research seeking genetic variants associated with TGD identities: a qualitative study. J Community Genet. 2022 Feb; 13(1):31-48.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34637070; PMCID: PMC8799808; DOI: 10.1007/s12687-021-00554-z;
Ruderman M, Berro T, Torrey Sosa L, Zayhowski K. Genetic counselors' experiences with transgender individuals in prenatal and preconception settings. J Genet Couns. 2021 08; 30(4):1105-1118.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33599075
This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown,
or last author.
2022 National Society of Genetic Counselors:
Leader in Cultural Advocacy Award
2021 Boston University Genetic Counseling Program:
AGCPD Outstanding Clinical Supervisor Award
2016 Brandeis University:
2015 Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University:
Ruderman Social Justice in Disability Scholar