Genomic medicine is a burgeoning field due to increasing knowledge of the role of genetics in disease and technological advances allowing for significantly faster and more affordable genetic testing. Genetic counselors are needed to help order appropriate testing, interpret complex test results for patients, and assist in management for genetic disease. As genomic medicine has extended into multiple branches of medicine as well as the consumer market, the demand for genetic counselors has increased significantly. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicted a 29% growth in genetic counseling positions by 2026. There is an urgent need for more genetic counselors to join the workforce and help care for the next generation of patients.
The program’s mission is to provide students with rigorous and dynamic educational and clinical experiences aimed to graduate patient-centered, ethically engaged, and future-focused genetic counselors who are poised to become leaders in the field.
The practice of genetic counseling has changed rapidly with evolving technology, and students must learn not only how to practice as genetic counselors now, but how to anticipate future changes and remain at the forefront of innovations. Wake Forest is poised to train pioneering genetic counselors by leveraging the expertise of faculty with diverse backgrounds in molecular genetics research, clinical research, and clinical care.
In order to produce genetic counselors who advocate for their patients and the genetic counseling field, our program’s objectives are to prepare our graduates to be better able to:
- Provide oversight regarding the ordering of genetic tests in the medical community, assisting with interpretation, and educating patients regarding results and their ramifications
- Advise in the development of new genetic tests and the reporting of the results to patients and consumers
- Appreciate the gray-area between what “can” be done in the field of genetics, and what “should” be done