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The Feingold Center for Children

Providing diagnosis and treatment for children born with genetic disorders, rare diseases, and physical and intellectual challenges.

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The Feingold Center for Children was established in 1983 to provide diagnosis and treatment to children born with genetic disorders, rare diseases, and challenges throughout the New England area. The Feingold Model of Coordinated Care exists to offer coordinated care, bettering the lives of the patients, and easing the difficulties caregivers experience after receiving a diagnosis of a genetic disorder or rare disease.

Clinical Care

Since many of the children treated at the Feingold Center require the care of numerous specialists, the Intake and Triage Coordinator arranges appointments as much as possible to decrease the necessity for frequent trips.

The Feingold Model of Care, exemplified by the Feingold Center’s staff, focuses on providing more, in-depth time with families. Specialists at the Feingold Center understand how important it is to truly listen to parents’ concerns and take the time to get to know the whole child, not just focus on the diagnosis. Additionally, the staff works directly with insurance companies to help families get coverage for any necessary, specialized testing. When test results are back, staff have face-to-face reviews to explain them in a way that’s easy to understand. The Feingold Center works collaboratively to provide additional care from specialists or address any therapy and educational needs, as well as the social and emotional needs of the entire family.

The funds provided by The Genesis Foundation allow our clinicians and staff to continue this comprehensive and unique Feingold Model of Coordinated Care.

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Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling is offered to prospective parents who are concerned about the possibility of genetic diseases occurring in their children. Patients who may benefit from genetic counseling include:

  • Those wishing to discuss a condition that runs in their family.
  • Couples who have a child with a genetic condition and have questions before having their next child.
  • Those who have had genetic testing or screening previously and need additional information or education in understanding those results.
  • Couples wishing to learn more about assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
  • Women who will be 35 years of age or older at the time of delivery.
  • Parents who have concerns about exposures to medications, drugs, alcohol, chemicals, or other agents during pregnancy.
  • Couples with infertility or multiple pregnancy losses.
  • Couples who would like pre-conceptual counseling before pursuing pregnancy either naturally or via reproductive technology.

Massachusetts Satellite Clinics

The Feingold Center at Boston Children’s Hospital – Waltham hosts multiple clinics at various locations. The following clinics take place on a regular basis and are staffed by Dr. Catherine Nowak:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital – Waltham
  • Boston Children’s Hospital – North Dartmouth
  • Boston Children’s Hospital – Peabody
  • Milford Regional Medical Center – Milford
  • Shriners Hospital – Springfield
  • The Feingold Center Cape Cod Clinic – Sandwich. (Please contact Jenny Lauk at jenny.lauk@childrens.harvard.edu for more information.)

To make an appointment at any of these clinics or to learn more about them, please call (781) 216-2840 or fill out the form below.

Clinicians and staff at both the Feingold Center and MotherToBaby are dedicated to training the next generation of care providers and educating the public in general.

Paying It Forward

At the Feingold Center, graduate students in genetic counseling from Brandeis University and Boston University often are invited to experience hands-on learning via a clinical internship. We strive to instill the principles of compassion and holistic care in future genetic counselors who will be able to apply these practices and principles in the future. Jessica Douglas also goes out to local training programs to teach graduate level students about genetic counseling and prepare them for a career in pediatrics.

Dr. Nowak does outreach to local hospitals and primary care practices. Formal teaching such as Grand Rounds allows her to keep community physicians up-to-date regarding the rapidly evolving field of Genetics. Trainees in Pediatrics, Clinical Genetics, OB-GYN, Reproductive Endocrinology, and Genetic Counseling rotate through Dr. Nowak’s clinics to have hands-on learning experiences. She also offers informative sessions for the community, has a shadowing program for high school students interested in careers in genetics, and has run a mentoring class in the local elementary school to excite young minds about science and genetics.

Patricia Cole at MotherToBaby offers her expertise to graduate students at Brandeis University. She teaches them about the common medications and household agents that could pose a risk to a developing baby. She teaches them how to field questions from the public and supply accurate and actionable information to both expecting parents and the doctors and nurses who care for them. Patricia is also dedicated to community outreach and participates in several health fairs in our local communities to spread the word that any person who needs information and support regarding exposures in pregnancy and lactation.

The Feingold Center for Children Staff

Catherine Bearce Nowak, M.D.

Dr. Catherine Nowak is the Clinical Director of The Feingold Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. After receiving her medical degree from McGill University, Dr. Nowak completed a pediatric residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and then a fellowship in Clinical Genetics and Birth Defects at The Franciscan Children’s Hospital with Dr. Feingold. After several years as a Clinical Geneticist at The National Birth Defects Center, Dr. Nowak went on to become the Chief of the Genetics Division at UMASS Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA. She returned in 2006 to The Feingold Center for Children as the Clinical Director.

Dr. Nowak is Board Certified in Clinical Genetics. She is passionate about providing comprehensive care to children with genetic conditions and syndromes. She evaluates and treats individuals of any age with autism, intellectual disability, known or suspected hereditary, genetic, chromosomal, and syndrome conditions. She sees patients in a variety of locations around Massachusetts to make it as convenient as possible for families. Dr. Nowak also serves as the director of the MotherToBaby Massachusetts program which ensures that the public and non-genetic physicians have access to information aimed at preventing exposure to environmental agents, medications, and drugs that could be harmful to a developing baby.

The Feingold Center for Children Staff

Jessica L. Douglas, MS, CGC

Jessica Douglas has a Masters in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University. She is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counselors and licensed in the state of Massachusetts. She has 20+ years of experience in the field of genetics and has been practicing in the field of genetic counseling since 2004. Jessica is available to help patients and their families with their genetic questions and facilitate testing and support. She provides genetic counseling to adults regarding personal and family medical histories as well as pre-conceptual concerns. She continues to be active in training the next generation of genetic counselors and is involved in teaching and supervising graduate students from both Brandeis University and Boston University.

Jessica also acts as a liaison between patient families and researchers who are interested in rare genetic conditions. Since so many of the conditions that are seen at the Feingold Center fall into the category of rare or ultra-rare, communication with laboratory scientists who are studying specific genes can provide the most cutting edge information available. Often times the newest information available regarding a genetic condition can be overwhelming and technical. Jessica helps translate this information into usable information for patients and their families as they strive to deeply understand their condition and live their healthiest life possible. Through the process of research and genetic testing, several new genes have been discovered at the Feingold Center with the help of collaborators around the world.

The Feingold Center for Children Staff

Jenny Lauck

Jenny Lauck is the Intake and Triage Coordinator for The Feingold Center. She obtained her BS in Biology from Simmons College. She pursued graduate-level coursework in genetic counseling at Brandeis University. Jenny provides assistance with care coordination and patient advocacy. She has been with the Center for 11 years.