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Genetic Counseling Program

Founded in 1989, The University of Texas Genetic Counseling Program (UTGCP) offers a challenging and unique program in genetic counseling administered through the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in association with the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics at the McGovern Medical School.

Genetic Counseling Program Overview

Genetic Counseling Thesis Shelf in GSBS Library

“The quality and cost of the program was a huge decision factor for me! I knew I was getting a fantastic education and the lower price meant that I could focus more on my education.” – Alexa Bream, MS, CGC, UTGCP Class of 2019

“I would attend the UTGCP again because the program provided me with the skills to be a genetic counselor who advocates for my patients. Just as importantly, the program provided me with the skills to be a professional who advocates for myself in the workplace. What I enjoyed most about the UTGCP was the sense of connection that it brought me with my classmates, mentors in the program, and program leadership. Although I am now practicing in the Midwest, I know I will always have a home with the UTGCP.” - Jessica O’Shea, MS, CGC, UTGCP Class of 2018

“I most enjoyed my clinical rotations at the UTGCP, because I learn best by being coached. The quantity of clinical rotations offered through this program allow for countless opportunities of 1-on-1 coaching from supervisors with each session. Training becomes personalized and nuanced in this way - and helped me implement head-knowledge in real-time patient care. I would recommend the program to others because of the depth and breadth of relational support. The UTGCP family extends beyond fellow classmates, and includes faculty, physicians, supervisors, mentors, and alumni who willingly and graciously offer support to students in the ways their roles allow. In moments of need, I was overwhelmed by unexpected kindness and care from the UTGCP family.” - Kaitlyn Amos, MS, CGC, UTGCP Class of 2020

Overview

Student Support

Mentorship Program: The mentoring program provides a support network for the first year genetic counseling students. Each first year student is paired with a second year student, and they are encouraged to meet regularly throughout the first semester and to continue the relationship throughout the year. The second year students provide peer insights into how to successfully traverse the challenges that new graduate students. Their unique first-hand experiences are invaluable to the first year students.

Academic Advisor Program: In order to optimize the communication between graduate students and faculty, students in the UTGCP are matched with an academic advisor who will aid them throughout their time in the program. The academic advisors are members of the genetic counseling program faculty. The objectives of this program are to open lines of communication between students and supervisors, provide the student with a person with whom they can discuss problems, supervisory concerns, academic questions etc., aid in professional development, guide students with decision making.  While the Program Directors have an open door policy and regularly meet with students, the Academic Advisor provides another faculty touch point for students.

Support for Underrepresented Minority Students: In recognition of the unique needs of students who identify with an underrepresented group in genetic counseling, the UTGCP piloted a program in 2020 to match URM students with an additional faculty mentor who identifies as being from a similar underrepresented background.  The UTGCP plans to expand and enhance this program moving forward.


Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

UTGCP’s JEDI mission is to graduate a student body that consistently includes underrepresented groups in genetic counseling, to nature and grow an inclusive environment for all genetic counselors, to actively make the profession of genetic counseling accessible and equitable to all interested students and to continue learning from our mistakes to ensure this commitment.

 
Below are sties to learn more about JEDI at our school and in the field of genetic counseling: