Sioux Falls teacher finds new career as genetic counselor

Nov. 13, 2018

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Allison Hutchinson, a genetic counselor at Sanford Health.

Name: Allison Hutchinson

Age: 38

Hometown: Washburn, N.D.

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

I attended the University of Sioux Falls for undergrad.

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

We have many wonderful friends and family members here. Our kids attend great public schools. I enjoy the seasonality of the Midwest. The pace of our life can be as fast or as slow as we’d like it to be. I grew up living in the country, and I’m grateful for the ability to drive just a short distance out of town to have the space I sometimes need  while still enjoying the activities and events of suburban life.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy prepping for cases and trying to learn the backstory of why a patient or family is coming to see genetics. I enjoy the process of talking with patients and families, hearing their stories and helping them in any way I can. They tend to give me more than I could ever give them, and I am grateful to be part of their care team. Additionally, I work with amazing people who often think about issues in different ways than I do. I like the challenge of considering opportunities from varying perspectives.

How did you get connected to your industry?

I was a high school science teacher in the Sioux Falls School District for over a decade, and I enjoyed my work there very much. One day, I was driving in my “mom van” and heard Dr. Gene Hoyme talking on local radio about this new genetic counseling program starting at Augustana University. It would be a joint effort between AU and Sanford Health. Genetics had been one of my favorite parts of the science curriculum, and I was ready for a new adventure. I took the necessary steps to become eligible for enrollment into the program, applied and was accepted. Now, I work as a genetic counselor for Sanford Health in a few different clinical settings, and I am also part of the education team at Sanford Imagenetics.

Describe Sanford Health in three words.

Patient-centered care.

What’s your favorite way to give back to your community?

We have lived in many different neighborhoods in Sioux Falls. Being a good neighbor has always been one of my goals.

What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

Not that we need another chicken place, but I really do love me some Chick-fil-A.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

About every five to seven years, I get an itch to try something new. I honestly could not predict what I see myself doing in five years. I could have never predicted I would be where I am today.

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Sioux Falls teacher finds new career as genetic counselor

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Allison Hutchinson, a genetic counselor at Sanford Health.

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