The Boston University Genetic Counseling Program (BUGCP) is one of 56 master’s degree training programs across North America. Every eight years these programs undergo reaccreditation and in October 2021 the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling conducted a virtual site visit of the Medical Campus.
The reaccreditation process was led by Program Director Kathleen Swenson and supported by program leadership Lillian Sosa, Philip Connors and Jodi Hoffman, teaching faculty, clinical supervisors, current students and numerous program alumni. The program team was notified of its success in December 2021.
According to the final report, program strengths include the high quality of training provided by faculty, overall graduate preparedness to enter the workforce across a variety of different roles from clinical positions to jobs in industry settings, and the availability of robust clinical training opportunities for trainees. Graduates of the BUGCP have expertise in clinical genetics and work across multiple clinical fields, including reproductive genetics, hereditary cancer programs, family medicine and primary care and sub-specialties in neurology, psychiatry, cardiology and ophthalmology. Graduates also work as variant interpretation scientists, biotech companies patient advocacy programs, clinical research trials and rare disease-focused research.
The program also was commended for its strong dedication to incorporate diversity, inclusion, justice and equity throughout the curriculum, and the inclusive and supportive community the program fosters for students. The BUGCP plans to increase diversity in its student enrollment thanks to a $1.76 M grant from the Warren Alpert Foundation. Selected students will receive full tuition support and a cost-of-living stipend.
In addition, BUGCP and the BU School of Public Health recently joined forces to create a dual degree program, allowing students to earn a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling and a Master of Public Health degree in two-and-a-half total years of study. This newly created program is a result of a needs assessment and candidates’ interest in obtaining both a genetic counseling and public health degree.