Mrs. Renee Hofstedter

BA Psychology, MS Education, BA Psychology, MS Education

Affiliations: Bnos Bais Yaakov

High School Biology Teacher, High School Biology Teacher

Research Interests:

Genetics, Bioethics, Rare Diseases, Translational Research

Brief Bio:

Genetics and bioethics, and the diagnosis of rare diseases. Renee is working on a capstone project aimed at improving the patients’ experience as they go through their diagnostic odyssey and disease management. Renee is passionate about using translational research to explore ways to improve the patients’ experience as they go through the diagnosis of a rare disease. She is interested in genetics, especially how it relates to the patient experience. She focuses on the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and diagnosis on patients and their families, with a focus at the paediatric population. Renee has a masters of science in education and has been teaching high school Biology for ten years. She loves teaching and getting to know people. She enjoys traveling and skiing.

Capstone Project:

Rare disease patients do not receive timely genetic diagnosis due to many barriers. Despite the abundant data published about the diagnostic odyssey, most of it presents the perspectives of stakeholders other than the patients, such as health care providers and researchers.
We learned that beyond the lengthy process of the diagnostic odyssey, patients and caregivers are also negatively impacted by various challenges in their experiences. This includes communication problems with physicians, the difficulty in getting a referral to genetic testing, and the need for support in understanding the scientific information on their disease. Understanding these experiences of this patient population would help us describe the overall needs of Canadian patients with rare diseases as they navigate through their diagnostic odyssey.

Rare disease patients do not receive timely genetic diagnosis due to many barriers. Despite the abundant data published about the diagnostic odyssey, most of it presents the perspectives of stakeholders other than the patients, such as health care providers and researchers.

We learned that beyond the lengthy process of the diagnostic odyssey, patients and caregivers are also negatively impacted by various challenges in their experiences. This includes communication problems with physicians, the difficulty in getting a referral to genetic testing, and the need for support in understanding the scientific information on their disease. Understanding these experiences of this patient population would help us describe the overall needs of Canadian patients with rare diseases as they navigate through their diagnostic odyssey.

Patients with rare diseases are a unique patient population not only because of their medical challenges, but also because they are often burdened by the difficulty of finding a diagnosis. Those impacted by rare diseases are struggling to manage their (or their child’s) condition. Without knowing the root cause of their disease, they often feel lost and frustrated in this situation. Receiving a diagnosis is crucial as it can lead to more targeted treatments, slow the disease progression, and contribute to the patients’ sense of control over their condition. Diagnosis also grants patients access to certain services and support systems that can improve their disease management. The search for diagnosis can be extremely long and difficult and is referred to as a diagnostic odyssey. Currently, the average duration of the diagnostic odyssey for rare genetic conditions is 4.8 years, during which patients and their families are heavily burdened emotionally, physically, and financially. This is also a burden on the healthcare system and society as a whole.

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https://www.linkedin.com/in/renee-hofstedter-908169181/?originalSubdomain=ca

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