Educating Future Genetic Counselors

Educating Future Genetic Counselors

October 3, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


We’re very fortunate to have 9 genetic counselors
and 12 medical directors in genetics who are able to provide direct training and one-on-one
input with the students when they’re here. All of these medical directors and genetic
counselors are board certified by either the American Board of Medical Genetics or the
American Board of Genetic Counseling. I think our genetic counseling program is
lucky to have this experience. I think it’s a pretty unique experience for
genetic counseling students to be able to spend time in a lab like ARUP. We hear about these tests all the time during
the year, and during case conference or when we’re learning about how to test for other
disorders. But just to be here I think really solidifies
what those tests actually mean, and to see the labs, and to see the machines, and to
meet the genetic counselors who are working here on the other end is a huge benefit. A couple of things that we really try to do
in the program is to give them one-on-one experience with a genetic counselor, reviewing
cases, reviewing test orders. It also helps us gain a deeper understanding
of the genetic testing involved, what methods go into it, the limitations, and how we can
better interpret those results to the patient. They actually are able to rotate through molecular,
cytogenetics, biochemical genetics and our maternal serum screening areas. So this gives them a very broad background
in laboratory genetics. This experience at ARUP helps us communicate
to people in a different way. Rather than solely speaking to patients, we
have to learn how to tailor our language to a physician and how to communicate, and I
think that’s valuable in any profession. We want to give them this really strong foundation,
so that when they leave, which as soon as they do leave, they go right on
their clinical rotations. For us, if we’re in the clinic, since we know
what’s happening when we send out a blood sample, it’s not just going into the abyss,
it’s coming to these people who really care about our patients, too. The genetic counseling students have been
coming over to ARUP for over 10 years now. We actively improve the course every year
with their feedback. So it does evolve and gets better every year.