Cynthia Curry is a distinguished clinical geneticist based in Fresno, California. A pioneer in delineating genetic disorders with over forty years of experience, Dr. Curry has played an important role in clinical genetics and in the establishment of genetics as a recognized independent subspecialty. She served as the Medical Director of Genetic Medicine at Community Regional Medical Center from 2003 to 2016 and continues as the director of Cancer Genetics there and as director of the Prenatal Center Director of Central California Prenatal Diagnostics. She founded genetics at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California and led that department from 1976 to 2003. She is a Professor of Pediatrics, Emerita, at the University of California, San Francisco and holds an adjunct appointment as Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University.
Dr. Curry’s decision to pursue medicine was a natural one. Though she had no family members in the profession and no more exposure to medicine than her peers, by the age of twelve years old, she had already discovered her life’s passion:
In seventh grade, we were assigned to do a report on what we wanted to do with our lives. I found a book on a frontier woman practicing medicine and was immediately enamored by the idea of a career in medicine. I thought eventually something would deter me from this path, but my enthusiasm and determination to pursue this goal only increased with time.
Dr. Curry obtained her AB at Mt Holyoke College and attended medical school at the Yale University School of Medicine. After earning her medical degree, she went on to complete residencies at both the University of Washington’s Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and the University of Minnesota before completing a fellowship in genetics and dysmorphology at the University of California, San Francisco. Her primary focus throughout her career has been to pursue diagnoses and help her patients and families adapt to and understand their conditions.
A groundbreaking researcher in the field of clinical genetics, Dr. Curry’s findings have been featured in over one hundred publications in peer-reviewed journals and numerous chapters in medical books. She worked with the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program for many years and now has a role in the National Birth Defects Prevention Program. She is a reviewer for many publications in the field as well, including American Journal of Medical Genetics, for which she is also an associate senior editor, Clinical Genetics, The European Journal of Medical Genetics, and the American Journal of Human Genetics. She has been actively involved in research societies, especially the Western Society for Pediatric Research, and in the important organizations of her specialty, The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the American Society of Human Genetics. In 2014 she received the American Academy of Pediatrics, David W Smith award for excellence in genetics.
In addition to her research and clinical practice, Dr. Curry is dedicated to teaching residents and students and inspiring the next generation of geneticists and pediatricians. Today, she lectures widely on a diverse range of topics and serves as a mentor to students and genetic counselors in graduate and postgraduate programs.
Dr. Curry’s lifetime of work in clinical genetics has afforded her a unique perspective on the major and fast-moving developments in her field. She is impressed by the dramatic changes over four decades that now allow earlier and more accurate diagnosis of genetic disorders. She noted:
Since I began my career we have seen huge advances in genetic technology. Techniques such as Exome Sequencing now allow us to study 22,000 genes at a time. Advances like this allow us to diagnose many children and adults and this is probably only the beginning. You can only imagine what is coming next.
After more than four decades dedicated to medicine, Dr. Curry shows no signs of slowing down. Looking to the future, she anticipates continuing to see patients, teaching the next generation of geneticists and counselors, and finishing a book on genetic conditions in infants.
Detailed Career Information
Education, Training & Certification
Yale University School of Medicine (M.D.)
Mount Holyoke College (A.B. Zoology/ Physiology)
University of Washington, Children’s Orthopedic Hospital (Residency)
University of Minnesota Hospital (Residency)
University of California, San Francisco (Fellowship in Genetics & Dysmorphology)
Certified, American Board of Pediatrics
Certified, American Board of Medical Genetics (Clinical Genetics)
Awards & Honors
Faculty Research Award, UCSF/Fresno (1985); First UCSF/Foundation Research Award (1988); Listed in “Guide to America’s Top Pediatricians” (2002-2014); “Best Doctors in America” listing – Clinical Genetics and Prenatal Diagnosis (2003-2016); America’s Top Doctor Award (2001, 2004-2016); Best Clinical Geneticist, Fresno Magazine – The Medical Issue ( 2004-2011); Women’s Hall of Fame, Fresno, California (2006); Finalist Fresno City/County Woman of the Year Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Women’s Health Research" Fresno/ Madera Medical Society (1992)
Professional Memberships & Community Involvement
Western Society for Pediatric Research; American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics; American Board of Medical Genetics; American Society Human Genetics; David W Smith Foundation; State of California Birth Defects Monitoring Program; Pacific Southwest Regional Genetics Network; California State Genetic Disease Screening Program; Prenatal Advisory Committee; March of Dimes National Clinical Advisory Committee; Colonel Sanders (March of Dimes) Award Committee; The National Children’s Study; International Dysmorphology Nomenclature Committee; University of Utah – School of Genetic Counseling advisory committee; Face2Gene; American Pediatric Society; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Society of Human Genetics; Teratology Society; Society of Perinatal Obstetricians; European Society of Human Genetics; Fresno Dance Repertory Association; Lively Arts Foundation; Fresno-Madera Medical Society