Warren Alpert Foundation Awards BUSM $1.76M to Increase Diversity in Genetic Counseling Programs

The Master’s Program in Genetic Counseling (BUGCP) has joined an initiative to increase diversity in genetic counseling supported by the Warren Alpert Foundation.

According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors, 94 percent of genetic counselors are female, and 90 percent are white.

To address this issue and educate a genetic counseling workforce that improves support for patients from underrepresented backgrounds, the Alliance to Increase Diversity in Genetic Counseling initiative will support 40 underrepresented students in five genetic counseling programs in the Northeastern U.S. to expand all dimensions of diversity, including racial/ethnic diversity, first-generation college graduates and socioeconomic diversity.

Leading the effort is the University of Pennsylvania’s MS in Genetic Counseling Program at the Perelman School of Medicine, joined by the BUGCP and genetics counseling programs at Rutgers University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Across the five institutions, 10 students will be selected yearly to receive full tuition support and a cost-of-living stipend. In total, the Warren Alpert Foundation has committed $9.5m over five years to advance this work.

“There has never been funding of this magnitude to support trainee scholarships in this field,” said BUGCP Director Kathleen Berentsen Swenson, MS, MPH, CGC. “This support will allow the field to expand perspectives, and provide additional support for trainees receiving this award.”