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The first half of this course will introduce the student to the framework of the genetic counseling profession, including the history, practice standards, principles, and code of ethics. The second half of this course will introduce the application of the genetic counseling framework via the client-provider relationship (defining and describing the qualities of the genetic counseling interaction) and various counseling theories. We will draw on the Reciprocal Engagement Model of genetic counseling to discuss the therapeutic approach, contracting, basic empathic interviewing, and client assessment. Other theories that will be discussed in depth include: cognitive behavioral theory, family systems theory, feminist theory, multicultural counseling, existential therapy, and person-centered therapy.

This course guides students through theory and literature to support understanding of health-related behaviors and the human experience of grief and loss. Topics include health behavior and human motivation, stress and coping theory, adaptation theory and grief theories, as well as theories to provide context into families and culture. The theories and frameworks covered in this course will support the students education in theory-based research as well as provide context and specificity to the delivery of evidence-based genetic counseling interventions. Pre-requisite: GC6010.

This course augments clinical rotations during the summer between the first and second years of the Master’s degree program. Students will identify psychotherapeutic and educational issues in cases from their clinical rotations. These issues will be addressed through group discussion and practice of counseling approaches and interventions. Students will also build on their clinical skills of how to approach and work-up genetic counseling cases. Prerequisite: GC6015

This skills-based, interactive, class will utilize standardized patients, role play, and discussion to practice advanced genetic counseling techniques. This course will encourage exploration of techniques grounded in counseling theory to gain confidence in the counseling process, including dynamics of grief and bereavement, crisis intervention, and multicultural sensitivity. Students will develop a sophisticated understanding of content and process and will be able to formulate a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment and counseling approach. This class will be interactive with minimal lecture time. Prerequisite: GC6015

This course will use a systems-based approach to familiarize the students with human developmental biology and embryology. Students will use this knowledge to understand common human malformations and genetic syndromes. The course will include lectures and case-based learning activities focusing on human reproduction and pre- and postnatal development.

  • Medical Genetics 1 (GC6510) provides a framework for the study of human genetics with clinical examples to illustrate the application of the main principles. Topics covered this semester will include: gene structure and function, chromosomal abnormalities, single gene inheritance, molecular, cellular and biochemical basis of genetic disease, complex and multifactorial inheritance, genetic diversity, and population genetics. Techniques of genetic analysis will be introduced.
  • Medical Genetics 2 (GC6515) will take the principles from HG1 and build on them by using different genetic sub-specialties including: Epigenetics, Personalized Genomic Medicine, Psychiatric genetics, Pharmacogenetics, Biochemical Genetics, Cancer Genetics, Cardiovascular genetics and Neurogenetics. The course will emphasize risk assessment for genetic disease, including pedigree analysis, Bayes, and Hardy-Weinberg and genetic susceptibility. Use of large genomic datasets in precision medicine will be introduced. Prerequisite: 6510

Exposure to the clinical laboratory including ordering, lab utilization management, techniques, and reporting in the areas of molecular genetics, cytogenetics, biochemical genetics, genomics, personalized medicine, pharmacogenetics, genetic tumor screening will be provided. There will be extensive review of gene variant analysis and reporting for clinical relevancy.

Research for Genetic Counselors 1 & 2 will explore the research process, with a focus on genetic counseling research. The course will introduce the skills students will need to develop a thesis proposal and complete their thesis research. This course implements application of research components and will be heavily discussion based. Each student will identify and develop his or her thesis proposal throughout this two semester course. As topics are discussed in class, students will apply knowledge to those aspects of the development of their theses. This will culminate in the presentation of their thesis proposals to the committee at the end of the second semester.

  • Research for Genetic Counselors 1 (GC6610) occurs in the first semester. Topics addressed will include: basic principles of study design, critical reading of the literature, and developing a statistical plan.
  • Research for Genetic Counselors 2 (GC6615) occurs in the second semester. Topics addressed will include: quantitative and qualitative research methods, collection and management of data, human subjects research and the IRB, the informed consent process, and research ethics.

Students must successfully complete Research for Genetic Counselors 1 in order to advance to Research for Genetic Counselors 2.

Genomics in Public Health will focus on demonstrating the use of epidemiology and population-based screening to create health policy. Exploration of how genetic counselors can use their clinical and research skills to critically review the impact of health policy will be covered, especially as it relates to healthcare delivery and access, and patient and provider education. The importance of metrics and the use of community, regional, and national health resources will be emphasized. This course will review health policy and legislation which relate to medical genetics.

  • Professional Issues 1 (GC7010) will focus on professional development for new genetic counselors. Topics are organized into sections and will address skills needed to secure employment, function as a genetic counselor in both clinical and non-clinical settings, and management demands of working in a helping profession. Content addressed will include CV and cover letter development, job searching and negotiation techniques, financial and reimbursement issues, and expanding roles for genetic counselors, professional conduct, leadership skills, professional development and mentorship and self-care techniques.
  • Professional Issues 2 (GC7015) will explore in more depth the role of genetic counselors in research, education, and leadership. Topics include research funding, grant writing, working in a research team, conflicts of interest, supervision skills, genetic counseling outcome research and preparing for board examination and obtaining licensure. Students will participate in group activities, professional panel discussions, and interactive role plays. Prerequisite: GC7010

Students, faculty, and guests participate in the presentation and critical review of current and emerging topics and interests in the field of human genetics and genetic counseling. Students will develop skills in critical evaluation of medical literature, assessment of emerging interests and topics, and presentation of original research.

This course will allow students the opportunity to practice genetic counseling skills (listening and reflecting techniques, empathy, medical history taking, pedigree construction, patient education) which are presented in Introduction to Genetic Counseling (GC7500). The course is designed to be practice-oriented, and it will provide a safe place to explore new skills. Experience-based learning using standardized patients to practice medical communication techniques, role play, and flipped classroom strategies will be employed. The RIME (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator) framework will be introduced as a competency-based assessment tool to set expectations for assessing the progress of student performance throughout their clinical training. As part of this course students will attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which cases will be presented and discussed.

  • Genetic Counseling Practicum 1 (GC7515) is part of a Genetic Counseling Practicum series that provides students the opportunity to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s) of genetic counseling in a clinical setting. Within the RIME framework the goal of this course is to consistently demonstrate the reporter level skills learned from their Pre-Practicum Course (GC7510), and integrate skills from the interpreter level at least 50% of the time. As part of this course students will attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which cases will be presented and discussed. Prerequisite: GC7510
  • Genetic Counseling Practicum 2 (GC7520) is part of a Genetic Counseling Practicum series that provides students the opportunity to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s) of genetic counseling in a clinical setting. This series utilizes the RIME framework (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator), which is a framework used frequently in medical education to set expectations for student performance throughout their clinical training. The goal of this course is to consistently demonstrate the reporter and interpreter level skills learned and applied in the prerequisite courses. As part of this course students will attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which cases will be presented and discussed. Prerequisite: GC7515
  • Genetic Counseling Practicum 3 (GC7525) is part of a Genetic Counseling Practicum series that provides students the opportunity to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s) of genetic counseling in a clinical setting. This series utilizes the RIME framework (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator), which is a framework used frequently in medical education to set expectations for student performance throughout their clinical training. The goal of this course is to consistently demonstrate the reporter and interpreter level skills learned from their previous clinical experiences, and integrate skills from the manager level at least 50% of the time. As part of this course students will attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which cases will be presented and discussed. Prerequisite: GC7520
  • Genetic Counseling Practicum 4 (GC7530) is the last part of a Genetic Counseling Practicum series that provides students the opportunity to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s) of genetic counseling in a clinical setting. This series utilizes the RIME framework (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator), which is a framework used frequently in medical education to set expectations for student performance throughout their clinical training. The goal of this course is to consistently demonstrate the reporter, interpreter and manager level skills learned from their previous clinical experiences (GC7510, GC7515, GC7520, GC7525), and integrate skills from the educator level at least 50% of the time. As part of this course students will attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which cases will be presented and discussed. Prerequisite: GC7525

Each cohort (first years and second years) will meet as a group in Fall and Spring semesters. The process of group supervision will be modeled during the four semesters. The group sessions will be led by a counseling professional who is not otherwise involved in the program. Sessions will be confidential and attendance will be the only requirement for this pass/fail class. As the students progress through the program, they will have a graded increase in the responsibility that they are expected to meet in terms of group facilitation.

First year meetings will be more heavily lead by moderator. Transition to more peer-directed conversations will be encouraged as students advance through the program meeting weekly.

Students must pass GC7600 in order to advance to GC7610.

Completion of a mentored research project is a required component of the MGC program. The research project is driven by the interests of the individual student supported by the program faculty and/or clinical supervisors. The research must focus on a question related to the practice of genetic counseling from the patient and/or provider perspective. This course is graded pass/fail.