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Dr. Caroline Benjamin

Guild Senior Research Fellow

School of Nursing

Brook Building, BB434

+44 (0) 1772 89 5403

Subject Areas: Transforming Health Evidence (Research Group), Health and Social Care, Midwifery, Nursing, Medicine

Caroline is a leader in her professional field of genetic counselling and has recently joined UCLan as a Guild Senior Research Fellow. She brings a new focus on applied healthcare genetic research which will complement the existing research strengths of the University.

Caroline is a member of the Health Research Methodology and Implementation (HeRMI) group.

Full Profile

Caroline has a background in adult nursing and science genetics, moving into the role of Specialist Genetics Nurse in 1994. She has been active in the development of the professional role of the Genetic Counsellor, which was established by voluntary registration in 2003. Until 2013 she has maintained a clinical career working as a Principal Genetic Counsellor for the Cheshire and Merseyside Clinical Genetics Service. Early research focused on the psychological and social needs of families affected by genetic conditions, publishing the first research of patient experience of neurofibromatois type 1. In 1992 she was part of the Canadian Huntington Disease Research Collaboration publishing on the psychological outcomes of the first predictive testing candidates.

She was awarded a personal doctoral fellowship from the North West Research and Development Fund using grounded theory methodology that resulted in PhD thesis in 2003, 'realisation of risk; a central process involved in initiating referral from primary care to cancer services of women with a family history of breast cancer. In 2001 she was part of the Department of Health/Macmillan working group that developed a model for cancer genetics service delivery, which has since been implemented across the NHS.

Postdoctoral research has focused on a 5th Framework EU Programme at the School of Medicine (Manchester University) - GenEd which explored the genetics content in healthcare curricula and a survey of current non-specialist health professionals across five countries. This work was widely disseminated and she has presented at European and international conferences. The results informed debate within the educational and clinical communities leading to healthcare genetics being introduced into many medical and some nursing curricula. Collaborative work with the University of South Wales has resulted in the publication of a competence framework - 'Fit for Practice in the Genetics Era - a competence based education framework for nurses, midwives and health visitors’, which has recently been updated and is in current use by many health practitioner education programmes.

Caroline is currently focusing on a clinical and economic study exploring different approaches to the delivery of clinical genetics services across the UK and is interested in forming collaborations across the School of Health and other areas of the University to establish research partnerships.

Caroline maintains strong professional networks and holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellow contract with Liverpool Women's Hospital. She is the genetic counsellor co-opted member to the NIHR Genetics Specialty Group and current secretary of the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board. She acts as a reviewer for NIHR Programme Grants, RfPB and also a number of journals. She is a member of the UK Genetic Counsellor Registration Board, the British Society of Genetic Medicine BSGM), the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC) and the Royal Collage of Nursing.

She maintains a keen interest in ethical review and previous membership of local health authority ethics committees and the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) a specialist ethics committee of the Department of Health. She has a strong commitment to patient and participant involvement within research.



Benjamin CM, Mannion G, Birch J, Bradley A. The evolution of Genetics & Genomics: Are you ready?

Your code, your role, your responsibility. Nursing Standard. In press 2013.

Benjamin CM, Anionwu E et al. Midwifery 2009.

Benjamin CM, Hallett C, Ellis I, Booth K The use of the life course paradigm 2008 International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Claire Juilian-Reynier et al 2008 Genetics in Medicine

More publications


Member of Genetic Counsellor Registration Board (GCRB) - Secretary 2013 onwards

Member of the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC)

Member of the British Society of Genetic Medicine

Member of the Cancer Genetics Group


Reviewer for NIHR RfPB
Reviewer for NIHR Programme Grants
Genetic Counsellor co-opted member of the NIHR Genetics Specialty Group
External examiner for 1PhD and 1MSc.


A clinical and economic study exploring different approaches to the delivery of clinical genetics services across the UK.



External Activities

Hon Senior Research Fellow Liverpool Women's NHS Trust

Genetic counsellor co-opted member of the NIHR Genetics Specialty Group

Secretary of the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board 2013 ongoing