The graduate program in genetic counseling within the UC College of Allied Health Sciences has received funding for a program titled "Changing the Face of the Genetic Counseling Profession."
The program will establish a consortium of nine genetic counseling programs located in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. The goal of the consortium is to address unique barriers of awareness and increase the number of minority candidates for admission to genetic counseling programs. Nancy Steinberg Warren, MS, CGC, director of the Genetic Counseling Program, a joint program between UC and the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, will serve as the principal investigator.
"Since the inception of master's level programs 35 years ago, members of the African-American and Hispanic communities have comprised less than 2 percent of the practicing genetic counselors in the United States," said Warren.
Armed with the knowledge of the human genome and the evolving mechanisms of gene expression, genetic counselors present options to clients at risk for genetically-based diseases, emphasizing the importance of genetic testing. Genetic counselors also provide information to clients about lifestyle choices that may impact clients' risk for disease.
"It is important that the delivery of genetic counseling services to minority populations includes providers who have experienced the challenges of the minority communities," said Elizabeth King, PhD, dean of the UC College of Allied Health Sciences.
Funding for the project comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is distributed through the UC Center for Environmental Genetics. For more information email Nancy.Warren@uc.edu.