Stanford's genetic counseling program provides students a depth and breadth of clinical experiences for their portfolios, including exposure to reproductive genetics, pediatric and adult genetics and specialty clinics, and cancer genetic counseling settings, serving a range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. All students also complete variant interpretation rotations and gain exposure to the role of genetic counselors in industry settings. These experiences may include working on a pharmacogenomics project, alongside genetic counselors employed by a genetic testing company, or in a laboratory setting (research or clinical) learning about the various roles and skills that many new genetic counseling positions require. Students who wish to become proficient at genetic counseling in Spanish will have the opportunity to train at sites with genetic counselors who can mentor these skills. Training opportunities in other languages (e.g. Cantonese and Mandarin) are also feasible.
In the first year, students begin with clinical observations and role plays in the fall quarter, followed by 10-week clinical rotations in the winter and spring quarters, primarily at Stanford and nearby hospitals. During the intervening summer, students complete full-time internships (either in the Bay Area or elsewhere at an approved training site). After an assessment of skills, interests and experiences in the fall of the second year, students have the opportunity to select specific training experiences to add higher level expertise and/or exposure to non-clinical genetic counseling roles across the Bay Area. In total, students complete no less than 50-55 weeks of clinical training and in recent years have averaged 125-150 "loggable" cases, with nearly as many as additional ‘observational’ cases. We also take advantage of Stanford’s Standardized Patient Training facilities to work with trained actors in a recorded setting, providing students with an independent learning and assessment experience at various points in their training.
Finally, starting in 2013 we began offering students the opportunity to conduct 1-3 rotations 'off site' during their second year to provide options for prospective students who have a strong desire, interest or need to spend their second year of training in a specific geographic location. We have relationships with large academic medical centers in various parts of the country that do not have genetic counseling programs. Students taking advantage of 'off site' rotations during the academic year will attend their courses 'online' and students doing more than one consecutive quarter off campus will be required to be on campus for 1 week/quarter to ensure appropriate progression in their other programmatic obligations including their research projects. For additional details, please see our FAQ.