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2/22/22: PUBLICATION | Dr. Gary Heiman and Jessica Joines evaluate the Undergraduate Genetic Counseling Certificate Program in the Journal of Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling certificate program: A program evaluation of undergraduate exposure to genetic counseling

Abstract

Undergraduate genetic counseling exposure can generate interest in a growing field, help students prepare to apply to graduate-level programs, and introduce underrepresented populations to the career. One form of exposure that currently exists is the Genetic Counseling Certificate Program (GCCP), which is offered to undergraduate students at Rutgers University. To determine the effectiveness, benefits, and limitations of the GCCP, a program evaluation was conducted. Former GCCP students were surveyed to assess how they perceived the program. Overall, most students thought the program successfully met its objectives and thought their participation in the GCCP was beneficial. Because it is viewed favorably by former students, implementing something similar to the GCCP may be an option for institutions looking to offer additional opportunities to their undergraduates. Not only could creating programs like the GCCP enhance undergraduates’ knowledge of the genetic counseling profession, but it could also contribute toward diversification of the field.

What is known about this topic

Exposing undergraduates to the genetic counseling career can generate more interest in an expanding profession and introduce a diverse set of individuals to the field. Types of undergraduate exposure can range from introductory genetic counseling lectures in science courses, to genetic counseling clubs, to more formalized offerings, like a genetic counseling certificate program or a minor.

What this paper adds to the topic

This paper describes the results of a program evaluation of the undergraduate Genetic Counseling Certificate Program (GCCP) at Rutgers University. The GCCP is a unique form of undergraduate genetic counseling exposure that is advantageous for several reasons, ranging from its ability to familiarize students with the profession to its effectiveness at introducing students from underrepresented populations to the field.

Read the full paper here.