Genetic Counseling

School of Health and Human Sciences

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, NC

Genetic counseling students will be exposed to all aspects of genetic counseling for cancer genes and syndromes. Students will learn how to create computer-generated pedigrees and to manage a cancer genetics database.  They will also undergo training in computer based risk assessment tools. There are meetings that the student may attend including a multidisciplinary breast cancer conference, a molecular diagnostic laboratory meeting, journal club and outreach clinics.  Students may also be exposed to cancer research as UNC CH is part of the Cancer Genetics Network.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Prenatal Clinic, Chapel Hill, NC

The UNC CH Prenatal Clinic is a high volume referral center for obstetricians around the state. Patients are referred due to advanced maternal age, positive prenatal screening results, family histories of genetic conditions and ultrasound anomalies. Testing that is commonly offered in this location includes Level II ultrasound, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Students will also have exposure to the AFP screening laboratory at UNC CH and will assist in calling providers with positive screening results. Weekly meetings available to students include an interdisciplinary fetal anomalies case conference and grand rounds when the topic is pertinent.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism Clinic, Chapel Hill, NC

The Pediatric Genetics Clinic at UNC CH includes individuals and families with a variety of genetic conditions. Students will be expected to take a medical and family history, discuss inheritance patterns, describe testing options, take an active part in the genetic counseling portion of the visit, and, if possible, write a letter summarizing testing results.  For each of your assigned patients, you will need to review any existing medical or other records, write a summary of the relevant information on the work-up form, research the condition for which the patient is referred and recognize the counseling issues that are likely to arise during the session. You will have the opportunity to write counseling letters summarizing the visit and possibly testing results.  Part of this rotation also includes exposure to the metabolism clinic. Typical diagnoses in this clinic include PKU, MCAD, methylmalonic acidemia, and lysosomal storage disorders.  The vast majority of these individuals are on dietary management for their condition and our two metabolic dieticians play a key role in their management. New patients from the clinic include those with abnormal biochemical testing, abnormal newborn screens, known inborn errors of metabolism, or family histories of a metabolic disorder.  Responsibilities also include coordinating outside laboratory testing and identifying, creating and distributing appropriate support materials. A unique experience in this clinic is the opportunity for the genetic counseling students to play a significant role in management of patients with metabolic disorders without a dietary component, including MPS disorders. Genetic counseling students may also have the opportunity to meet with patients in clinical trials for enzyme replacement therapy.

 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Adult Genetics Clinic, Chapel Hill, NC

Genetic counseling students will be exposed to a wide variety of adult onset genetic syndromes as well as adults who have genetic conditions that were not diagnosed in childhood, such as neurofibromatosis type 1 and Elhers-Danlos syndrome.  Students will participate in the general adult clinics on Wednesday and Fridays as well as specialty clinics in cardiology, ophthalmology, thrombophilia, hemophilia and dermatology.  Students will also attend meetings including patient clinic conferences, a molecular diagnostic laboratory meeting and grand round conferences. Students will also be exposed to UNC CH research studies related to NCGENES (North Carolina Clinical Genomic Evaluation by NextGen Exome Sequencing).


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