HGC 715: Human Genetics
This course provides an overview of human genetics concepts including Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance, the molecular basis of human variation and disease susceptibility, and chromosome variation. Population and quantitative genetics are covered, including pedigree and risk assessment using Bayesian statistics.
Fall I – 3 credits
HGC 725: Developmental Biology and Human Malformation
Primary concepts covered in this course include: principles of developmental genetics, human reproduction, and normal/abnormal embryological development. The relationship between human development and clinical topics such as congenital anomalies, human disease, teratogens, and infertility are presented, in addition to assistive reproductive technologies and fetal therapy. Development is covered by major organ system, with emphasis on associated birth defects including etiology, ultrasound findings, and recurrence risks.
Fall I – 2 credits
HGC 745a&b: Medical Genetics I & II
This course introduces the student to the basic elements of a medical genetics evaluation including concepts involved in dysmorphology, physical assessment, and differential diagnosis. The clinical features, natural history, counseling issues and management strategies for major pediatric and adult genetic diagnoses/syndromes are reviewed including: chromosome anomalies; bone dysplasias; hemoglobinopathies; metabolic conditions; trinucleotide repeat, connective tissue, neurogenetic, and opthalmological disorders, as well as other single gene disorders by organ system. The course also covers methods and procedures associated with newborn screening, carrier testing and prenatal screening/diagnosis.
Fall I - 1 credit, Spring I – 2 credits
HGC 755: Current Topics in Clinical Genetic Testing
This course utilizes a case-based approach to clinical and laboratory aspects of cytogenetics, biochemical genetics, and molecular genetics testing. Testing methodologies, measures of analytic and clinical validity, and test interpretation are discussed. The course is designed to prepare the student to select appropriate genetic tests for clients and provide accurate counseling based on possible test results.
Spring I – 3 credits
HGC 760: Genetics of Common Diseases
Using cancer as a model, this course focuses on the genetic aspects of common diseases, including epidemiological concepts and levels of disease susceptibility. The clinical and molecular aspects of hereditary cancer syndromes are emphasized, and concepts related to cardiovascular genetics, psychiatric genetics, neuro/developmental genetics, and diseases such as diabetes, asthma, etc, are also addressed. The course provides a framework to address aspects unique to genetic counseling for common chronic diseases including risk assessment, genetic testing options and screening/prevention strategies.
Spring I – 3 credits
HGC 805: Public Health Genomics (online course)
This course provides a basic overview of public health, societal and public policy issues, community-based interventions, and healthcare delivery systems. Public health genetics activities and perspectives at the local, state and federal level, as well as academia and industry are illustrated using existing programs and projects as examples.
Online: 2 credits (Summer II)
HGC 820: Hot Topics in Genomics
This course focuses on the analysis of new and evolving genetic/genomic technologies and their clinical application. Topics include microarray, NIPT, next generation sequencing, gene panels, whole exome/genome testing, interpretation of genetic variants, pharmacogenomics, genomic profiling/direct-to-consumer genetic testing, carrier and newborn screening advances, next generation tumor sequencing, and return of research results. This is a literature-based course, utilizing recent publications to illustrate concepts and issues, and stimulate in-class discussion. Application to genetic counseling practice is emphasized through role-play activities and student-led discussion.
Spring II – 3 credits
Counseling Related Courses
HGC 705: Introduction to Genetic Counseling
This course introduces students to the historical aspects and goals of the genetic counseling profession. The basic principles and tools of genetic counseling are discussed and illustrated, including collecting a family history and constructing a pedigree, components of the genetic counseling interaction, and counseling contexts/situations. Practice-based competencies, scope of practice, NSGC position statements and code of ethics, are explored.
Fall I – 3 credits
HGC 720: Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice I
This course offers an introduction to the theory, research, and practice of person-centered, experiential, and existential therapy. Through experiential exercises, students learn skills that build a therapeutic relationship (e.g., genuineness, empathic understanding, and caring) and intervention skills to help clients express and explore the meanings of their experience. This course includes exercises designed to develop competency in relationship and basic counseling skills. Topics specific to genetic counseling are addressed including communicating risk and uncertainty, facilitated decision-making, non-directiveness, and self-disclosure.
Fall I – 2 credits
HGC 750 Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice II
This course continues the exploration of psychosocial issues relevant to genetic counseling as initiated in Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice I. Topics covered include: individual psychosocial development, impact of chronic illness and disability, grief and bereavement, crises intervention, care for the caregiver, multi-cultural sensitivity and competency, and family communication of genetic risk. Students experience the impact on individuals and families of living with a genetic condition or serious/chronic illness through speaker panels, visits to various care facilities, and spending time with a family who has a child with Down syndrome.
Spring I – 2 credits
HGC 810 Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice III
This course focuses on advanced concepts encountered in the practice of genetic counseling including teaching principles and methodologies, health literacy, counseling individuals with special challenges, interacting with the media, and clinical supervision. Professional growth, certification and licensure, and preparing for the job market are addressed. Students are introduced to issues of billing and reimbursement, genetic service delivery models, telemedicine and the business/marketing aspects of providing genetic services. Role-play and literature-based discussions are utilized to enforce the concepts covered.
Fall II – 2 credits
HGC 730a-d Genetic Counseling Seminar I-IV
This series of four genetic counseling seminars provides a forum for 1st and 2nd year students to learn from each other through sharing, discussion and presentation of cases experienced through observations and clinical rotations. Students also explore topics in genetics and genomics through journal club, and review of web-based genetic news items, blogs and books written for the lay population. In year 1, the 1st year students also focus on research methodology and grant-writing skills. In year 2, the 2nd year students focus on manuscript development and preparation for the ABGC boards.
Fall I/II, Spring I/II – 1 credit each
HGC 707: Intro to Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Required)
This course focuses on basic concepts of descriptive, analytic, and experimental epidemiology, and biostatistics. Topics covered include overview of study designs, measures of disease frequency, variables and distributions; statistical approaches to analysis of epidemiological data; and sources of bias in epidemiological studies. Application of these principles to genetics-related topics is illustrated through review of relevant publications.
Fall I – 3 credits
PAE 7103: Biomedical Ethics (Required)
Examination of ethical rules, principles, and theories as they relate to health care delivery issues using a case presentation and discussion format. Additional sessions related ethics of genetics research and clinical practice will be held for genetic counseling students.
Fall II – 3 credits
Clinical and Research
HGC 735a-i: Clinical Practicum (see also Clinical Training)
Students complete a sequence of clinical rotations throughout their program experience. The rotations take place under the supervision of board certified genetic counselors and/or clinical/medical geneticists. Students begin in Fall I with learning fundamentals of clinical counseling, observations of genetic counseling sessions conducted by experienced counselors, in addition to role-play and simulation activities. The first clinical rotation begins Spring I. Students complete 5, 8-week core rotations in prenatal, cancer, and general genetics (two rotations in 2 of the 3 areas). In addition, each student completes 4-5 four-week rotations in different specialty clinics and non-traditional settings. Students take increasing responsibility for the preparation and conduction of the genetic counseling sessions as they progress through the program. A minimum of 50 clinical cases in core rotations is required where the students participate in a significant portion of the case management and counseling.
Fall I - 2 credits (Clinic Prep), Spring I - 4 credits, Summer I - 5-7 credits, Fall II - 6 credits, Spring II - 6 credits
HGC 740: Focus Internship: (see also Focus Internship)
Focus Internship opportunities are offered in four general areas: Expanded Clinical Genetics Practice, Public Health Genetics, Clinical Genetics Research, Genetics Laboratory Practice and Counseling. Student placement with a particular focus project and mentor occurs through a matching process conducted during the students’ introductory summer semester. Students spend an average of 6 hrs per week on Focus Internship activities during the fall and spring semesters of both years of the program, and the equivalent of 4 full time weeks during the interim summer between their 1st and 2nd year. In addition to participating in activities and meetings, and offering valuable work of benefit to their mentor, the Focus Internship provides the basis for the student’s Capstone Project which includes: 1) completion of a mock grant proposal, 2) analysis/review/collection of data leading to: 3) submission of an abstract to a national genetics meeting, and 4) completion, internal peer review and revisions resulting in a first-author publishable manuscript.
Fall I, II/Spring I, II – 1 credit each; Summer II – 4 credits
HGC 815: Genetic Counseling Research
Independent study. Students complete data collection and analysis and develop draft and final manuscripts, meeting abstracts, and presentations based on their Focus Internship Capstone Project.
Fall II – 1 credit; Spring II – 2 credits