q about genetic counselling

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by Elutes, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Elutes

    Elutes New Member

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    i see a pandemic of epidemiologists in this forum but i've found only a passing mention of genetics counselling. is there anyone here who knows something about genetics counselling? i'm interested in u pitt's parogram, it's a 2 year MPH program and as a chemistry major i both know of and respect pitt's chemistry department and their research programs, but the MPH's stated application requirements for this program seem pretty light. i'm wondering where i can find info about the actually stats of admitted applicants -- the site asks for things like BS, QPA3.0+, coursework in biochem, genetics, calculus, statistics, psych and 70%ile + in GRE sections, asking only for some volunteer experience in a genetic counselling setting -- so I'm wondering if this is just the stated minimum and actual applicants have a much heavier-weight resume. Or if the program is kind of fluffy. Are genetic counsellor programs fluffy? I've been doing a lot of reading on the internet about genetics counselling programs in general and i can't get a sense of how much you are a scientist who counsels or whether you are really kind of a techician.
     
  2. namazu

    namazu Member
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    Hi Elutes,

    There are quite a few genetic counseling programs out there. I worked as a gopher for the program at Northwestern a number of years back.

    In reference to the Pitt program, I don't know anything specific about it, but the guidelines that good grad schools give for applicants tend to be lower than the qualifications of the students they expect to admit. This is to broaden the applicant pool and to ensure that someone with excellent qualifications but, say, a poor GRE score, isn't deterred from applying or automatically excluded. That said, 70th %ile + on the GRE means that, by definition, you have to be in the top 30% of prospective grad-school applicants, and there are a good many people wouldn't see calculus, biochem, etc. as "fluffy" requirements! As a chemist, you may have background that someone coming to the field from, say, socialwork or anthropology might not have, and they may have insights into behavior that you may not. I wouldn't worry too much that the program is fluffy based on those admissions criteria alone, unless you get that impression from other sources as well.

    Johns Hopkins also has a (very selective) master's program in genetic counseling:
    http://www.jhsph.edu/dept/HPM_OLD/Degree_Programs/Masters_Degrees/MScGenet/index.html

    They give the following guidance about career opportunities/emphasis:
    "Since the program graduated its first students in 1998, all of our graduates have been employed in the genetic counseling field or are pursuing further graduate degrees. Several graduates are practicing in cancer genetics. Others work in prenatal genetic counseling, in research into Alzheimer's genetic marker testing, in adult genetics clinics, in family studies research, and in a genetics hearing loss clinic. Several also currently serve as clinical supervisors for various genetic counseling training programs. Consistent with the goals of the program, graduates have secured positions that combine their clinical and research skills."

    Depending on your interests, it sounds like you can either be a counsellor and advise families and individuals about their options/test results/etc., or you can do research or education.

    I would guess that most accredited genetics counseling programs would open similar doors for you. Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean, it's hard for me to see how you'd end up as just a "technician". That seems like more of a risk in a bench-based genetics or biotech program, where you can be someone's grad student/post-doc for years...

    There are also genetic epidemiology programs within school of public health or as stand-alone programs (e.g. at Washington University in St. Louis) that are very research-oriented and tend to deal less with the psychosocial aspects of genetics than a counselling program would.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Elutes

    Elutes New Member

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    Hi! and Thank you! And oh no no i didn't mean to imply that those courses were fluffy -- just the "oh a BS in something and some volunteer time" sounded fluffy compared to the Mandate-for-Work-Experience-in-an-MPH-Program I've been reading about on this forum. I just wondered whether there was such a thing as technician-y or a more academic-y type of program. As for JHU, it's so WAY UP THERE -- no, I'm not it that league, sorry. :) I did enjoy figuring out what I would have answered to the purported JHU med school admissions question: On a scale of 1-10, how modest are you?

    Actually, I'm a first-year med student now. My MCATs were one of the best parts of my application to med school, so the prospect of the GRE isn't so scary. My favorite parts of med school so far have been biochem (esp the genetics part), embryo (integrated with gross). I have teaching&counselling&advising experience and get all happy and excited over pregnancy, women's issues, multicultural stuff, interesting diseases, knowing odd facts, being nurturing, helping, and it also seems to me that (please excuse the gross overgeneralization) that most of the people that I meet who strike me as really curious and interested in all sorts of eclectic things and who are avid readers seem to be either geneticists or pathologists and I like being around those people.


    Thanks very much though for the info in your post, I really appreciate it!
     

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