Dr. Maria Baker received her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health in 1985 and her Doctoral degree in Genetics from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in 1991. She is a diplomate of both the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Genetic Counseling with dual certification as a Master’s trained genetic counselor and a Ph.D. medical geneticist.
In 1998, Dr. Baker developed the Pennsylvania State Hershey 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 to help families whose children have developed cancer.
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 pass legislation so that genetic counselors are recognized as providers by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which will increase access to genetic counseling services that are covered by insurance. Dr. 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.