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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Maria Baker’s research interests involve the study of hereditary cancer syndromes affecting both the adult and pediatric population, as well as the ethical, legal and social implications surrounding cancer predisposition testing.

In 1998, Dr. Baker developed the Penn State Health Cancer Genetics Program. She provides genetic counseling and testing services to individuals who are concerned about a personal and/or family history of cancer and offers various strategies to manage one’s risk for cancer including enhanced surveillance, positive lifestyle changes, chemoprevention, as well as the option of prophylactic surgery. Most recently, in 2016, Dr. Baker received support from the Four Diamonds fund to develop a Pediatric Cancer Genetics Program at Penn State Health.

Dr. Baker helped facilitate the successful passage of licensure of genetic counselors in Pennsylvania in 2011. She is currently working on the federal level, along with her professional colleagues, to secure recognition of genetic counselors by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as health care providers. In 2013, she served as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Penn State Hershey Commission for Women, which represents the interests of more than 7,000 women on the Penn State Health campus. She also served as co-chair of the American Association of Medical Colleges Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) at the College of Medicine from 2016 through 2018 to advance the successful participation and inclusion of women in academic medicine.

Professional information

Fellow, American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (FACMG)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Penn State College of Medicine

… → 1991

MS, University of Pittsburgh

… → 1985


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