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
- 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 Wake Forest Genetic Counseling 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, we strive 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
We aim to create future leaders who are thoughtful and engaged in ethical issues and can help guide and direct the genetic advances of the future.
The Wake Forest Genetic Counseling program supports the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) efforts of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD), the Minority Genetics Professionals Network (MGPN) and the ABGC, and ACGC to create a more diverse, inclusive, and accepting genetic counseling profession. We embrace the statements set forth by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center:
- We believe that diversity and inclusion are integral to achieving excellence and quality health outcomes for all.
- We believe that achieving the mission of the Medical Center requires the creation and maintenance of a work and educational environment that embodies diversity and inclusion.
- We believe in the unlimited value of a diverse workforce at all levels of our Medical Center.
- We embrace the definition of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for diversity, including the recognition that diversity is not limited to race and ethnicity, but must also take account of socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious commitment, physical ability, and all of the experiences that enrich our lives.
- We believe that in order to eliminate the pervasive health disparities that exist in our region and country, we must recruit, retain, and train a diverse cadre of faculty, staff and trainees.
- We believe that our educational programs should enable health care professionals to provide culturally competent care and address health disparities.
- We believe our Medical Center should actively engage with our local and regional communities to advance health equity