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To: Multiple recipients of list HUM-MOLGEN <HUM-MOLGEN@NIC.SURFNET.NL>
Subject: ETHI: genetic counselors
From: Hans Goerl <GENETHICS@delphi.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 06:49:09 -0400

A few more responses to the original post.

From: "S.Robert Young" <N700053@UNIVSCVM.CSD.SCAROLINA.EDU>

 are 14-15 M.S. Genetic Counseling Programs in the U.S. right now with 1-2
comi ng open in the next year or two.  Each accepts about 6 students each
year for t he two year program.  I understand that there are a couple of
Training Programs  in England and South Africa but to my knowledge that is
all.  I was asked to s peak to the Japanese Society of Human Genetics last
October on what Counselor d o and how they are trained and how to set up a
program so I know that they are considering.  But, they are currently
stumped on how the counseling would be fu nded and the general finances
involved.  They should have it worked out soon -- there are many well
trained clinical geneticists there but they all do their ow n counseling.
We trained two nurses from Taiwan two years ago who I thought wo uld be a
nucleus for starting a training program in Taiwan.  But it hasn't happ ened
yet.  They have 4 trained genetic counselors in Taiwan now (I believe).  I
am very interested in extending genetic counseling and would be happy to
assis t anyone interested in starting.  (We started our Program in 1985 and
believe i t's been relatively successful).  I don't really believe there is
need for any new programs in the U.S. now until there are more positions
available.  There m ay be need but there aren't jobs.  The directors of
programs (who are organized  into the "Association of Genetic Counseling
Program Directors") are quite conc erned that every graduate be able to find
a job.  The general U.S. market for c ounselors is near equal now.  I have
been waiting for a growing demand in the c ancer genetic counseling arena
but it is developing a little slowly.  I'd be ha ppy to discuss further.
 S. Robert Young, PhD, Professor of Ob/Gyn and Dire ctor of Genetic
Counseling Training Program, University of South Carolina Schoo l of
Medicine, Columbia.  Ph=803-779-4928  Fax=803-434-4699

From: Isa Samuels <isa@RADLAB.UCSF.EDU>

I don't know about other countries but there are programs I know of in
California. It seems like there might just be a shortage of genetic
counselors in the future since some of these programs (and there are only
a few of them) require counselling experience which most geneticists
don't have. Also, most counselors don't have the genetic background
required. Or do you think I am making too much of an assumption?

From: Robert Resta <bc928@SCN.ORG>

> There are training programs for genetic counselors in Canada, England,
and I believe Australia.

In the US, programs are certified by the American Board of Genetic
Counseling.  The National Society of Genetic Counselors has a formalized
Code of Ethics, published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling,
1(1):41-44 (1992).

EDITOR's NOTE: The author is the incoming editor-in-chief of the Journal of
Genetic Counseling. Anybody interested in subscribing to this publication
should contact him directly.


Australia has a number of courses in genetic counselling which are
offered by various universities and most of which are accredited by
 the Human Genetics Society of Australia.  To my knowledge, there are
also several Masters level courses in North America (Canada and the United
State s):

Program in Genetic Counselling, School of Public Health,
Univ of California, Berkeley; Sarah Lawrence College, New York;
Mt Sinai School of Medicine, New York;
Mcgill University, Montreal, Canada; also at Indiana University and
Brandeis.  An outline of curricula was published by Smith, A.C.M.
(1993) Jnl of Genetic Counselling, 2,p197.  All courses appear to have
expert input from trained medical geneticists and counsellors and the impact

of modern advances in molecular genetics appear to be represented to varying
degrees in all courses.  There is no doubt that there is some
resistance to the inroads of molecular genetics by traditional
medical geneticists much as there was in other disciplines like
biochemistry, physiology and neurobiology in times past.  There is
however a strong base in ethics in virtually all courses.
Here in Australia, Charles Sturt University is introducing a course in
genetic counselling at the postgraduate diploma level next year which is
 expected to receive accreditation from the Australian Human Genetics
Society.  The Sturt University course includes aspects related to medical
molecular  genetics, cytogenetics, reproductive technologies as well as

professional issues subjects which cover bioethics, limitations in
predictive values, risk perception and assessment, confidentiality
and privacy issues.
There are also courses run at the University of Sydney and University
of New England.  Interested persons may wish to contact in the first
instance, John Rae of the Human Genetics Society of Australia whose
address is: North West Health Service, 180 Peel Street, Tamworth NSW
2340 Tel: 067 662555/Fax: 067 663967

Hello all.  I have been following this thread with great interest.  This
topic has come up at the most opportune time for me; I have been trying
to locate further addresses for counselling programs since I would like
to become a counsellor.

Does anyone know if there is such a program in England?

Thank you all for your help.

Linda Monica Hansen, BSc.

To summarize the responses to date, it seems that of the forty-nine
countries with subscribers to HUM-MOLGEN, approximately 8 have training
programs in this area.
Yet in the US, which has the largest number of training programs, (and
presumably trained personnel),although the need apparently exists for
counsellors, they are not being hired.

Is this need of which Francis Collins and Robert Young spoke illusory? Are
most PhD geneticists, MD'S and RN's capable of and/or willing to deal with
the complex issues and strong emotions raised by predictive genetic testing?

If not, is the example of the Netherlands, where predictive testing is
available only in specially designated clinics, a model other countries
might consider?

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