Start Your Journey to a Diagnosis Today

To begin a referral to the DISCOVER Program, you or your doctor should call our program coordinator, Joy Tanaka, at 212-342-4622. Once we receive your referral materials, the DISCOVER Program team will review your records and determine whether we can assist you. If you are accepted into the DISCOVER program, we'll work with you and your family on all aspects of your care, including medical appointments, insurance coverage, and pre-authorization. If you need to travel to New York, we will suggest accommodations with convenient access to our medical center. The DISCOVER Program accepts patients whom we believe we can help. We may try to direct you to other options if we believe they are likely to be more effective.

Begin Your Application

  1. Obtain copies of the following records for our review:
    • Consultation notes from specialists
    • School/therapy evaluations and results of psychometric testing
    • Laboratory and/or radiographic reports
    • Growth charts (for children)
  2. Complete the Medical Record Release Form
  3. Complete our New Patient Intake Questionnaire. The Patient Intake Questionnaire can be completed by either:
    • Downloading the PDF and filling out the form on your computer
    • Printing the PDF and completing it by hand, or
    • Submitting it electronically via our online form.

A note about information security: We recognize that you are submitting sensitive information. Our electronic form is secured through our HIPAA-compliant servers.

Planning for Your Visit

If you are accepted into the DISCOVER program, we'll give you a detailed itinerary outlining your visit. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive evaluation by multiple specialists in a single day or over several consecutive days.

  • You will meet with several members of the DISCOVER team, including a doctor (a medical geneticist), a genetic counselor, and depending on your or your child’s needs, a social worker and nurse practitioner. We will also coordinate appointments with our world-class medical specialists and schedule any radiologic studies (MRI, CT, PET scan, ultrasound, or x-ray studies), heart evaluations (echocardiogram, EKG, stress test), or other procedures needed to complete the evaluation. In some cases, a brief hospitalization may be necessary if several studies are needed.
  • Within a month of your visit, a member of the DISCOVER team will contact you to discuss the results of the medical evaluations and studies (with the exception of genetic test results, which can take up to five months). We will ensure that you and your referring physician receive copies of all clinic notes and test results.
  • If we make a diagnosis, we'll ask you to return for follow-up so we can provide you with information about your treatment options as well as resources for education and support. We will help you establish a medical team who can continue your ongoing care. We will also discuss options to participate in research and to connect you with other patients and families with the same diagnosis.

Your Genetics Appointment

The genetics appointment will be central to your visit to the DISCOVER program. The goal of the genetics appointment will be to review the medical history in detail, answer questions, and determine what testing is needed.

  • At the beginning of your genetics visit, you will meet with the genetic counselor to review the patient's medical history. The genetic counselor will also ask questions about your family history and draw a family tree, called a pedigree.
  • Next you will see the medical geneticist, who will ask you more questions and perform a physical exam. Once the exam is done, the medical geneticist and genetic counselor will talk with you about testing options and follow-up recommendations.
  • If you decide to have laboratory testing, it will be coordinated with any other blood or urine tests requested by other doctors and may involve obtaining blood or urine samples from the patient, in addition to blood samples from other relatives who are at the visit.

Financial Guidance

We will bill your insurance for our services. We will work with you and your insurance company to obtain pre-authorization for any consultations, tests, or procedures.

  • If you do not have U.S. health insurance, you will need to pay for our services out of pocket.
  • Any research studies will be free of charge.
  • There is no charge to submit medical records for evaluation.

How You Can Support Us

If you would like to support the DISCOVER Program, you can do so by sending a check or making a contribution online. Please make checks payable to:

Columbia University
Indicate "Chung – DISCOVER Program" in the memo section
Send payment to:
Columbia University
Division of Molecular Genetics
Attn: Dr. Wendy Chung
1150 St. Nicholas Avenue, Room 620
New York, NY 10032
You can also donate online. Please indicate that your contribution is directed toward the DISCOVER Program. We appreciate your generosity!