Positive Results

Making the Best Decisions When You're at High Risk
for Breast or Ovarian Cancer

A book by Joi L Morris and Ora Karp Gordon, MD

Ora Karp Gordon, M.D., M.S.


Dr. Gordon is Director of the GenRISK Adult Genetics Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the largest clinical adult genetics program on the West Coast; Co-director of the Cedars-Sinai Gilda Radner Ovarian and Breast Cancer Screening Program for high risk women; Associate Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles; and Director of Cancer Genetics at the Disney Family Cancer Center, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. Dr. Gordon's primary area of research is the prevention of breast cancer in high-risk patients, focusing on clinical prevention trials and novel genetic tests for breast cancer risk assessment. Dr. Gordon has authored numerous papers on breast and ovarian cancer genetics and lectures nationally.

Dr. Gordon began her study of genetics at Tulane University as an undergraduate then moved to the University of California, Irvine for her Master's in Genetic Counseling, a profession still in its infancy at that time. She is a New York native who found Orange County to be a bit of a culture shock initially. But she is an avid outdoorswoman and quickly fell in love with the climate and the combination of beach and mountains. Her genetic counseling work inspired her to go to medical school, with the plan to combine her genetics training with obstetrics. After medical school (and getting married) she moved to Los Angeles and began an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). While she was doing this training, the BRCA genes were discovered, which suddenly opened an entire new frontier in preventive health. She decided to combine her gynecology training with internal medicine to pursue her vision of a career in women's health. She then completed a fellowship in Medical Genetics at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and UCLA, which had one of the earliest Adult Genetics programs.

At the completion of her genetics fellowship she joined the faculty of Cedars Sinai and UCLA in 2001, and became the Director of the GenRisk Adult Genetics program in 2003, co-director of the Gilda Radner Breast and Ovarian Screening Program and Director of Genetics for the Wasserman Breast Cancer Prevention program in 2009. Always striving to maintain work life balance, she has worked part time to remain more available to her children. A committed teacher, she was the Medical Director for the California State University Northridge Masters in Genetic Genetic Counseling Program from 2002-04 and continues to train genetic counselors, medical students, and residents. Her clinical research includes participation in preventive therapy trials and translation of genetics into primary care medicine.