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Maria J. Baker, Ph.D., M.S.

Associate Professor in Medicine

Office Location

Penn State Hershey Cancer Genetics Program
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
Tel: (800) 243-1455 / (717) 531-1631 Fax: (717) 531-0647

Patient Services Provided

Cancer Genetic Counseling

Biographical Information

Dr. Maria J. Baker received her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health in 1985 and her Doctoral degree in Genetics from the Penn State University College of Medicine in 1991. She is a diplomat of both the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Genetic Counseling with dual certification as a Master’s trained genetic counselor and a Ph.D. medical geneticist.
Dr. Baker developed and coordinates the Penn State Hershey Cancer Genetics Program. She provides genetic counseling services to individuals who are concerned about a personal and/or family history of cancer. Clinical, as well as research-based, genetic testing is offered when appropriate based on the personal and/or family history of cancer.  In addition, various cancer risk management strategies are discussed, including enhanced surveillance, positive lifestyle changes, chemoprevention, as well as the option of prophylactic surgery, to manage one’s personal risk for cancer. Dr. Baker also provides lectures to medical students, graduate students, and various physician and nurse professionals, as well as numerous organizations within the community.

Professional Education

Ph.D., Penn State University - State College (1991) Master of Science, Genetic Counseling, Penn State University - State College (1985)

Research Interests

Impact of cancer genetic counseling and testing on individuals and their families.

Academic Interests

Hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes.


Mukherjee A, McGarrity T, Staveley-O'Carroll, Ruggiero F, Baker MJ
Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer: Moving Beyond Non-Directiveness in Genetic Counseling.
Community Oncology, 6(1):41-45, 2009.
McGarrity TJ, Baker MJW, Ruggiero FM, Thiboutot DM, Hampel H, Zhou XP, Eng C
GI Polyposis and Glycogenic Acanthosis of the Esophagus Associated With PTEN Mutation Positive Cowden Syndrome in the Absence of Cutaneous Manifestations.
American Journal of Gastroenterology, 98 (6):1429-1434, 2003.
Green MJ, Peterson SK, Wagner Baker M, Friedman LC, Harper GR, Rubinstein WS, Mauger D
Effect of a Computer-Based Decision Aid on Knowledge, Perceptions and Intentions about Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Susceptibility: A Randomized Trial.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 292(4):442-452, 2004.
Schreibman IR, Baker M, Amos C, McGarrity TJ
The Hamartomatous Polyposis Syndromes: A Clinical and Molecular Review.
American Journal of Gastroenterology, 100:476-490, 2005.
Green MJ, Peterson SK, Wagner Baker M, Friedman LC, Harper GR, Rubinstein WS, Peters JA, Mauger DT
Use of an Educational Computer Program Before Genetic Counseling for Breast Cancer Susceptibility: Effects on Duration and Content on Counseling Sessions.
Genetics in Medicine, 7(4):221-229, 2005.
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Honors and Awards

Press-Gainey patient satisfaction scores in 99th percentile nationally (2007-2008)