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Curriculum Timeline

AUG
Fall 1 Term
OCT
NOV
DEC
Spring 1 Term
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
Summer 1 Term
JULY
AUG
Fall 2 Term
OCT
NOV
DEC
Spring 2 Term
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
Commencement
Introduction to Genetic Counseling

Introduction to Genetic Counseling

GC6010
Fall 1 Term

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.

Theories of Human Experience

Theories of Human Experience

GC6015
Spring 1 Term

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.

Applied Genetic Counseling Theory

Applied Genetic Counseling Theory

GC6020
Summer 1 Term

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. Prerequsite: GC6015

Advanced Genetic Counseling

Advanced Genetic Counseling

GC6030
Fall 2 Term

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. Prerequsite: GC6015

Human Development

Human Development

GC6500
Fall 1 Term

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

Medical Genetics 1

GC6510
Fall 1 Term

The purpose of this course is to provide 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

Medical Genetics 2

GC6515
Spring 1 Term

This second course 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. Prerequsite: 6510

Labortory Sciences in Medical Genetics

Labortory Sciences in Medical Genetics

GC6520
Spring 1 Term

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

Research for Genetic Counselors 1

GC6610
Fall 1 Term

Research for Genetic Counselors I and II 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. Topics addressed during the first semester will include: basic principles of study design, critical reading of the literature, and developing a statistical plan.

Research for Genetic Counselors 2

Research for Genetic Counselors 2

GC6615
Spring 1 Term

Research for Genetic Counselors 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. Topics addressed during the first semester 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. Prerequsite: 6610

Genomics in Public Health

Genomics in Public Health

GC7000
Fall 2 Term

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

Professional Issues 1

GC7010
Fall 2 Term

This course 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

Professional Issues 2

GC7015
Spring 1 Term

This course 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. Prerequsite: GC7010

Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum

Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum

GC7510
Fall 1 Term

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.

Clinical Reflection and Self-Awareness

Clinical Reflection and Self-Awareness

GC7600
Fall 1 and Spring 1 Term

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.

Clinical Reflection and Self-Awareness

Clinical Reflection and Self-Awareness

GC7610
Fall 2 and Spring 2 Terms

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. Prerequsite: GC7600

Genetic Counseling Master's Thesis

Genetic Counseling Master's Thesis

GC7999
Summer 1, Fall 2 and Spring 2 Terms

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.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical Rotations

Practicum
Spring 1, Summer 1, Fall 2 and Spring 2 Terms

Practicum experiences are an integral part of genetic counseling training. During the 21-month MGC program, students complete coursework and rotations to achieve their clinical training and in accordance with ACGC Standards and Guidelines. Through this training, students will gain skills, knowledge, complete clinical cases required for application to sit for the ABGC genetic counseling board exam, and complete the expectations of the MGC practica preparing for success as a genetic counselor.

In the fall semester of the first year, students enroll in Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum (GC7510) as a precursor to rotations. In this course, students practice competencies relating to knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will be presented in the fall course Introduction to Genetic Counseling (GC7500). GC7510 is designed to be workshop-centered, practice-oriented, and a safe place to explore new skills. The RIME (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator) framework is introduced as a competency-based assessment tool, to set expectations for student performance throughout their clinical training. As part of GC7510 students attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which genetic counseling cases are presented and discussed.

In January and February of the first year, each student will complete five one-week rotation in the following areas: Prenatal, Pediatrics, Cancer, Specialty, and Laboratory. These one-week rotations are labeled in the Example Student Schedule. As the students are expected to rotate individually through the rotations, they will be assigned to start in different rotations and the specific order in which students complete the five rotations will vary. These brief one-week rotations serve as an on-site introduction to clinics.

Beginning in March of the first year, students start the ten five-week rotations. Students will rotate through the core rotations of Prenatal, Pediatrics, Cancer and Specialty twice during the 10 weeks as illustrated in the Example Student Schedule. In addition to the core rotations, students will complete one laboratory and one elective rotation over their clinical practica experience.

Students complete all of their rotations at Vanderbilt University Medical Center sites. Students may consider an off-campus rotation as an elective. As required by program accreditation guidelines, all external rotation sites are fully vetted and approved by program leadership prior to any student beginning a rotation at that location.

The following descriptions of the core rotations detail how students exposed to natural history, management, and psychosocial issues of a across broad range of genetic conditions in a variety of practice settings.

Please visit the Practicum page for more details.


You may also download a PDF of this course timeline