Genetic Counseling (GEN)

GEN 535:  Human Embryology    (3 credits)  

This three credit online course provides a comprehensive overview of normal human development from conception to birth. Particular attention will be placed on explaining specific mechanisms of abnormal development that lead to fetal wastage, congenital anomalies, and cancer. This course meets a prerequisite requirement for the MS in Genetic Counseling Program. Students should have previously taken coursework in biology, genetics and cell biology. With permission of the instructor, the course is suitable for upper level undergraduate students majoring in biology or other majors who intend to pursue professional education in genetic counseling, medicine, nursing or other allied health professions.

GEN 600:  Medical Genetics I    (3 credits)  

This foundation genetics course will cover a myriad of topics from the cell to the whole person and population. Molecular and cellular genetics, cytogenetics, the relationships between DNA, RNA protein will be covered as well as current topics in epigenetics and other complex genetic topics. Population-based concepts such as Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and population genetics will be woven into real-life cases and family stories.

GEN 601:  Clinical Fieldwork    (2 credits)  

The experience introduces students to clinical training in the field. Activities will include readings and reflection.

GEN 602:  Clinical Fieldwork    (3 credits)  

Students participate in genetic cases on a rotating weekly schedule under the supervision of genetic counselors or other medical staff. This is an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with different components of the genetic counseling session, observe different counseling styles, and compare how different clinical sites operate. Clinics will include prenatal, cancer, metabolic and other specialty areas.

GEN 603:  Clinical Fieldwork    (3 credits)  

The experience provides students with hands-on clinical training and increasing case responsibilities. Training will progress from observation to full responsibility for assigned cases. A weekly online discussion will allow students to share and discuss their experiences.

GEN 604:  Clinical Fieldwork    (3 credits)  

This experience will provide a continuum for increasing the breadth and depth of genetic counseling skills. These responsibilities may include case preparation, including review of the medical records and literature, obtaining family, medical and pregnancy histories, providing inheritance counseling, presenting cases to the faculty/supervisor.

GEN 610:  Genomic and Molecular Techniques Lab    (3 credits)  

This course will cover laboratory-based techniques used in all aspects of clinical genetics. Techniques and exercises based on real cases from referral to results will be discussed. Curation protocols will be shared.

GEN 615:  Pathophysiology    (3 credits)  

This course focuses on concepts of pathophysiology essential to understanding the genetic diseases and disabling conditions that can affect the body systems across the lifespan. Students will learn to explain genetic conditions associated with each system from a physiological standpoint. The signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and inheritance patterns will be reviewed using specific cases.

GEN 620:  Introduction to Genetic Counseling    (3 credits)  

This course will focus on the mechanics of genetic counseling cases as well as issues surrounding the practice of genetic counseling in the 21st century. From research and preparation to counseling and follow-up, students will learn about the goals and components of the genetic counseling session; assessment of patient/family needs; appropriate databases and websites to use in preparation for a case; and follow-up procedures. Through completion of practical activities and assignments, students will demonstrate their abilities to research a case, contract with families to determine patient goals, understand the differences between chart notes and patient and physician letters, and write letters of medical necessity. They will gain familiarity with medical terminology used in clinical genetics and expand their understanding of the impact of genetic disease on families. Additional topics will include disability, cultural competency, insurance, billing and reimbursement, professional relationships with other healthcare professionals, genetic discrimination and related legislation, and direct-to-consumer testing.

GEN 625:  Reproductive Genetics    (3 credits)  

This course provides an understanding of reproductive genetics and the skills necessary for clinical practice. Using sample cases, student offer and interpret genetic testing and develop case management skills. Students will be expected to read peer-reviewed journal articles and utilize core genetics databases. All aspects of reproductive genetic counseling are covered, including maternal and carrier screening, teratogen exposures, ultrasound evaluation, prenatal testing, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy termination.

GEN 630:  Clinical Applications in Genetic Counseling    (3 credits)  

The goal of this course is to facilitate application of medical and genetics knowledge and counseling skills to genetic counseling cases. The concepts and skills discussed in this course will be utilized in every clinical training setting. This synchronous course provides students with a safe environment for self-reflection and opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in an integrated fashion to genetic counseling scenarios. In concert with their clinical fieldwork, students are encouraged to take on expanded roles, experiment with varied counseling techniques, and begin to develop a personal counseling style. Students will be given several opportunities to practice their case presentation skills and to evaluate the cases presented by their peers.

GEN 631:  Psychosocial Applications in Genetic Counseling I    (3 credits)  

This course provides students with a broad understanding of counseling theory and practice. Topics include listening, observation, interview skills and strategies, family dynamics and development, coping and adaptation processes, referral and consultation procedures, and ethical principles. Focus is on first exploring patient characteristics and concerns, then utilizing appropriate counseling skills to respond in a patient-centered way. Course assignments include multiple-choice quizzes, discussions, small-group activities, demonstrations and role-plays with peer feedback. Students have the opportunity to integrate clinical experiences with what they learn in class.

GEN 632:  Psychosocial Applications in Genetic Counseling II    (3 credits)  

This course utilizes a case-based approach, providing the basis for discussion of a variety of genetic disorders and the application of counseling modalities. Students will have the opportunity to share experiences gained during fieldwork experiences. Discussions emphasize the interplay of medical, psychological, ethical, legal, social, and cultural factors in genetic counseling, including disabilities and palliative care.

GEN 635:  Ethical Issues in Genetic Counseling    (3 credits)  

This course is designed to provide students with a practical awareness of ethical standards and codes of conduct in the field of genetic counseling, and will incorporate such topics as ethical decision making, informed consent, confidentiality, allocation of scarce resources, professional competence, multicultural and diversity issues, and implicit bias.

GEN 640:  Cancer Genetic Counseling    (3 credits)  

This course will provide students with an introduction to the medicine of hereditary cancers of the breast, ovary and colon, as well as genetic mechanisms of mutations that lead to the conditions. Other hereditary cancer-causing syndromes will be reviewed, such as Li-Fraumeni, multiple endocrine neoplasia and Cowden. Students will become familiar with the terminology and vocabulary associated with oncology, pathology and cancer genetic counseling. Sttudents will learn family and medical history collection, pedigree interpretation and cancer risk model utilization. Testing criteria, presentation of testing options and interpretation of test results will be reviewed, as well as the psychosocial aspects of hereditary cancer counseling.

GEN 655:  Medical Genetics II    (3 credits)  

This course will build from basic genetic concepts. Some of the topics addressed include autism spectrum disorders, direct to consumer testing, pain management, complex genetic mechanisms, chronic conditions, pharmacogenomics, and emerging genetics specialties. Students will develop knowledge and genetic counseling skills through lectures, case studies and role-playing.

GEN 665:  Examining Cultural and Social Issues in Genetic Counseling    (3 credits)  

The impact of society and cultural norms and traditions is increasingly being recognized as an essential component in the genetic counseling process. This course addresses the social and cultural issues encountered in genetics and genetic counseling, which will be explored through case studies and readings, addressing gender, race, religion, social class, disability, and sexual orientation.

GEN 670:  Advanced Clinical Concepts in Medical Genetics    (3 credits)  

This course will be conducted as a case-based review of medical genetics topics, challenging counseling situations, techniques and strategies to facilitate genetic counseling in crisis situations, helpful ways to enhance communication within familities regarding genetic risk, and employ various counseling theories and approaches related to grief and bereavement issues.

GEN 697:  Applied Research Methods in Genetic Counseling    (3 credits)  

Qualitative and quantitative methodologies will be investigated to enable students to become consumers of available research and to conduct appropriate research projects focusing on the application of programmatic coursework to improve the field of Genetic Counseling.

GEN 698:  Capstone I    (3 credits)  

In this course students will develop their genetic counseling capstone projects. They will focus on developing a data collection and analysis proposal.

GEN 699:  Capstone II    (3 credits)  

In this course, students will write up their genetic counseling capstone projects. The final project will include the proposal as well as the results, findings, discussion, and conclusions. The results section will describe the findings of the data collection, statistical results for quantitative data or the themes that emerged in qualitative data and contains any tables, graphs or figures. The discussion will summarize the results in relation to the original research questions and/or hypotheses and includes the interpretation of the results in light of the literature. The summary section will include ramifications of the study for the field of genetic counseling, including implications for research, theory, and practice and addresses the limitations of the study.