At the moment there are a shortage of genetic counselors in the medical field. This is a need that must be filled, as there are three positions to every student who graduates with a degree in genetic counseling. However, the new graduate certificate will help nurses, PAs and family practice doctors gain the ability to recognize the more complicated cases and send them towards the genetic counselors.
This degree program is offered online and it is designed so that it can be finished in 12 months. Also no labs are required to take this course, which is being taught by Dr. Sara Tolsma.
Dr. Tolsma has enjoyed the idea of genetics since she began her dissertation work in Noel Bouck’s lab. At that time Noel was studying cancer, so cancer genetics were at the core of the work.
“I always enjoyed studying genetics as an undergraduate student,” Dr. Tolsma said. “I was a graduate teacher assistant for the genetics course which the medical students and genetic counseling students took, and I loved it.”
So when NW gave her the opportunity to teach the genetics course, she leaped at the opportunity. Genetics has a great future in helping people with potential hereditary medical issues.
“The opportunities are becoming more available for people with fertility issues to seek for help,” Dr. Tolsma said. “People who have diseases and disorders in their family tree can have screening done so that they can become more aware of the risks which they have for the diseases and disorders.”
Families would also have the opportunity to have genetic testing done so they can make informed decisions on whether or not they would like to have kids or not.
The testing also pertains to those who have cancer, who are being offered genetic testing to determine what type of cancer they have and what their appropriate drug dosage is.
This has to be done because different people react differently to different types of drugs, so the dosage has to be personalized so that they do not have an adverse reaction.
The degree is an amazing opportunity for students to gain a greater understanding into the field of genetics, and prepare themselves for a job in the field of genetics counseling and research.