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At UPMC Children's Hospital, our health experts specialize in genetic conditions that are more common in people from the Plain community (Amish and Mennonites).
We offer low- or no-cost genetic counseling and testing for people of all ages — from newborns to adults.
But we don't just diagnose genetic conditions. We also connect people in the Plain Communities to treatment.
Our clinics at UPMC Children's Hospital and other UPMC sites provide culturally sensitive and family-centered care. We see children and adults with complex and rare disorders from western Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia.
We help families find answers to their questions about genetic conditions and other conditions that may be influenced by genetics, to understand their risks for occurrence of these conditions, and provide guidance about treatment options.
We suggest that people bring medical records and a list of symptoms with them when coming for evaluation.
Before we do genetic tests, we:
When we provide test results, we:
We provide evaluation, counseling and testing for anyone with concerns about a genetic condition. This could be for themselves or their children.
We explain the tests in detail, including what the results mean and options for dealing with risks and for treatment.
Many of our patients continue their management of their rare, treatable disorder with us.
This screening provides vital information to people planning to have children.
If the couple desires, we can screen for gene changes that could cause disease in their children, even if they don't have the disease themselves.
Some gene changes only cause disease in males or females. Or they only cause disease when the child inherits one copy of the gene from each parent.
If a person is a carrier for a genetic condition, we explain the risk of passing on the condition. We also talk about risks for passing down that disease and provide for early diagnosis in a culturally sensitive way.
Children who have a metabolic disease may lack a certain enzyme or hormone that the body needs to process food. Genetic differences often cause these diseases.
We screen children for a wide range of genetic metabolic diseases. Many are treatable.
Diagnosing them early is crucial because early treatment can:
Many children have malformations of the face, ears, hands, feet, or other parts of the body. In some cases, these are visible signs of genetic conditions that can damage the brain, heart, or other organs.
Our experts know the unique physical signs of hundreds of rare conditions.
By testing children for these conditions, we can learn if they have an inherited disease.
We talk to parents about how the disease affects their child and what treatments are available, including clinical trials of new treatments.
People in Amish, Mennonite, and other Plain Communities face barriers and bias when accessing care.
The team at our clinic:
Along with diagnosing known genetic conditions, we research undiagnosed diseases in the Plain Communities.
We work with other centers across the country to improve our knowledge of these conditions. This research helps us provide more precise information and better treatments.
To make an appointment, call Cate Walsh Vockley at 412-692-7349.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With myCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
For questions about a hospital bill call:
To pay your bill online, please visit UPMC's online bill payment system.
Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.