Genetic Counselling Program

Many genetic conditions are very rare. St. Michael’s has a number of specialized clinics that focus on genetic or hereditary conditions. As a part of these clinics you may be offered genetic counselling. 

Genetic counselling can provide an assessment and counselling for people who may be at risk for, or known to have a hereditary condition based on their medical or family history. Your doctor may also recommend a genetic counselling appointment if you require updated information on your condition or are concerned about the risks to your relatives, including for family planning/reproductive options. 

Genetic counselling includes a comprehensive consultation with a certified genetic counsellor for a full assessment of your personal and family history. They will discuss the chances of inherited a known condition in the family, passing it on to children and implications for yours and your family’s medical care based on a genetic cause. Clinical genetic testing may be included when recommended or available, typically through a blood sample. Genetic counselling may also be offered for transitioning from pediatric to adult care when new or updated information is available, or if you are interested in re-assessment over time. 

Genetic counselling is currently only available at St. Michael’s Hospital through the following clinics:

  • Adult HHT Clinic (Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia) 
  • Adult CF Clinic (Cystic Fibrosis)
  • Adult PCD Clinic (Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia)
  • General Respirology 
  • Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic 
  • Heart Failure/Cardiac Amyloidosis Clinic
  • General Cardiology Clinic
  • Aortopathy and Connective Tissue Disease Clinic 

Our team

Samantha Afonso obtained her Honours Bachelor degree from the University of Waterloo and completed her Genetic Counselling Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She was certified by both the Canadian and American Boards of Genetic Counselling in 2019. She began her career in the Provincial Medical Genetics Program for Newfoundland and Labrador where she had roles providing patient care across medical disciplines and was involved in the provincial health research ethics board. Since 2020, Samantha has been a member of the St. Michael’s Hospital Heart, Lung and Vascular team. She has developed the clinical genetic counselling service for cardiac, vascular and respirology patients. Samantha provides counselling and support for families as well as leadership for other health professionals around genetic testing and diagnosis of inherited conditions. Her work at St. Michael’s includes supporting the HHT Centre for Excellence, the Adult Cystic Fibrosis program, Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic and Aorta Clinic.

Her clinical and research interests include cardiac genetics, transition to adult care for heritable conditions, and post-mortem genetic testing through her work with the Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, Samantha is involved with supervision of students from the University of Toronto Masters of Genetic Counselling Program.  She is an officer for the Ontario Association of Genetic Counsellors (OAGC), a member of the Unity Health Clinical Ethics Committee, and volunteers on working committees within the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors and the Hearts in Rhythm Organization (HiRO) where she has developed a guide for survivors of sudden cardiac arrest.

Clinical interests and areas of expertise: genetic counselling

Academic interests (research, teaching/education, quality improvement etc.): education and supervision of genetic counselling students, cardiac genetics, transition to adult care for heritable conditions, and post-mortem genetic testing

Department: Heart, Lung and Vascular

Clinics: Genetic counselling for respirology, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery

Languages: English, French

Contact information: 

Please refer directly to the following clinics for inquiries:

Location: St. Michael’s Hospital


St. Michael’s Hospital

30 Bond St.,
Toronto, ON
M5B 1W8
The main entrance is located near Queen St. East and Victoria St. The Bond St. entrance is not open to the public at this time.