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Competencies

Our program provides each student with the knowledge and experience to become a creative, independent and competent genetic counselor. Upon graduation, students will have:

  • Mastery of genetic concepts, including the molecular basis of inheritance, quantitative genetics and principles of risk assessment
  • Knowledge of the etiology and natural history of many genetic disorders
  • Ability to conduct a genetic counseling session by assessing the patient's needs and concerns, performing a genetic risk assessment, communicating appropriate genetic and medical information, providing supportive counseling and assisting the family in obtaining necessary services and support
  • Experience conducting a research project, from study design to oral defense
  • Awareness of local, state and national resources designed to assist patients and professionals and knowledge of ethical and legal issues as related to genetic counseling
  • Psychosocial and ethnocultural sensitivity to families or individuals with genetic disorders
  • Familiarity with genetic literature, including the ability to perform library research, critically evaluate scientific publications and assist in clinical research

Our program also emphasizes the importance of exposing students to renowned medical experts, both through conferences and on-campus lectures. All second-year students at Northwestern attend the National Society of Genetic Counselors' Annual Education Conference, funded by the program. Locally, students are also encouraged to participate in available conferences, including the Illinois Society of Genetic Professionals' Annual Symposium. In addition to the formal conferences, the program's proximity to the medical school and affiliated hospitals and care sites allows students to attend grand rounds and many academic lectures on campus.

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