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Ms Rachel Belk (RGC MSc BSc) - personal details

Contact details

Ms Rachel Belk

Role: NIHR Research Fellow


Social Research with Deaf People (SORD)
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
University of Manchester
Room 4.312 University Place
Oxford Road
M13 9PL


Rachel Belk's profile: BSL version




Rachel Belk is a genetic counsellor with 18 years’ experience in general genetic counselling, cancer genetic counselling and a longstanding interest in deafness. Since 2003, Rachel has worked in a specialist clinical role in deafness with a particular focus on improving access and communication within the genetic counselling clinic for d/Deaf people. This led to a shift in role in October 2007 to take up a Researcher Development Award from the NIHR to carry out doctoral studies. The subject of her research is ‘Genetic and medical information in British Sign Language: terminology and its impact on access to services’. She continues to work part-time in the North-West Regional Genetics Service in Manchester whilst carrying out her PhD research.

Memberships of Committees and Professional Bodies

Registered Genetic Counsellor (Registration Number 150), Genetic Counselling Registration Board, 2005


MSc Genetic Counselling, University of Manchester, 2003

BSc (Hons) Genetics, University of Leeds, 1992


Rachel is currently working on her doctoral research, which was funded by an NIHR Fellowship. She continues to work part-time in a clinical role as a genetic counsellor, based in the North-West Regional Genetics Service in St Mary's Hospital, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Rachel works with two groups within the University for her PhD research. One of these is the Social Research with Deaf People (SORD) group within the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work: a group which is led by Prof Alys Young, one of Rachel's supervisors. The other is the Department of Genetic Medicine which is the academic side of the genetic counselling service and has researchers working in all aspects of genetics including Health Services Research. The other members of Rachel's supervisory team, Dr Tara Clancy and Prof Dian Donnai, work within this department.


Rachel contributes to undergraduate teaching programmes in child nursing and postgraduate teaching for genetic counsellors, teachers of the deaf and clinical scientists specialising in audiology.