The Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics offers education, resources and services to help you serve your patients, including educational programs and brochures; a low-to-no cost carrier screening program for Jewish and interfaith individuals and couples in Illinois planning for a family; and access to expertise through our genetic counselor.

We partner with doctors, nurses, genetic counselors, and other allied health professionals to inform people about genetic disorders and hereditary cancers more common among individuals with Jewish ancestry.

Educational Brochures and Programs


The Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics developed the following pamphlets, which we are happy to provide to you and your patients:

  • Hereditary Cancers
  • Jewish Genetic Disorders
  • What Interfaith Families Need to Know About Jewish Genetics
  • Carrier Screening Flyer

The Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics developed the following pamphlets in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health, which you and your patients can view via digital download:

To request complimentary print materials, contact us at or 312-357-4718. Please provide your name, organization name and department if applicable, mailing address, and the requested number of copies you wish to receive.


The Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics offers educational opportunities for medical professionals, and for their patients, throughout the year. Sample topics include:

  • What’s Jewish About Hereditary Cancer?
  • What’s New-ish in Jewish Genetics?
  • Decoding Genetic Tests for Parents-to-Be
  • Understanding Differences in Genetic Tests
  • GBA Variants and Parkinson’s Disease

We also offer curriculum kits with slide decks and activities to teach both youth and adults about genetics, hereditary cancers, family health history and more. Additionally, our community health educator and genetic counselor can customize a program for you and/or your patients. For more information on programming, contact

Low-to-No Cost Genetic Counseling & Carrier Screening Program

Approximately 1 in 4 Jews carry a genetic mutation for an autosomal recessive disorder that could be passed down to future offspring. Given the higher odds of Jews carrying a genetic mutation for a genetic condition, all individuals of Jewish descent should be offered carrier screening as part of family planning. The Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics offers an affordable, accessible carrier screening program that screens for more than 267 conditions, including 100 that are more common among Ashkenazi Jews and Sephardic Jews. Most participants complete the program from home, including an online education course and genetic counseling via phone.

Learn more about how our carrier screening program can help your patients.

BRCA Mutations and other Cancer Predisposition Genes

1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews carries a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which increases the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, male breast cancer, prostate cancer and other malignancies. BRCA genes are found in both men and women and can be passed down to children from both mothers and fathers at equal rates. Learn more about BRCA mutations and the Jewish community.

Ashkenazi Jews also have higher rates of colon cancer than any other ethnic group. The mutations associated with these syndromes are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means affected individuals have a 50% chance of passing on the gene mutation to the next generation.

The Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics recommends genetic counseling for individuals with a strong history of breast, ovarian, colon or other cancers.

Read more about cancer risk assessments and when to recommend genetic counseling.

Currently, the Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics does do not offer screening for cancer predisposition genes. However, our genetic counselor is available to speak with community members to answer questions and to provide appropriate clinical screening resources.

Access to Expertise

In addition to providing counseling through our carrier screening program, our genetic counselor is available to talk to community members – free of charge – to answer their questions and identify the best clinical resource to meet their needs. Our genetic counselor typically answers calls and emails within 48 hours. Email for more information.

Planning for a Family?

Our affordable, accessible carrier screening program allows most participants to get screened from home.

Concerned About Cancer Risk?

We offer guidance on hereditary cancer risk assessments and information about where to get counseling and screening.