Clinical Training

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


The Johns Hopkins University/National Human Genome Research Institute Genetic Counseling Training Program

Clinical Training

Overview: Rotations

Rotations provide a critical opportunity for students to learn directly about genetic conditions, their impact on individuals and their families, and the role of the professional genetic counselor. Clinical rotations begin in the second quarter of the program and are required throughout, including summers. Because training for a career in genetic counseling requires meaningful interaction with clients in a variety of settings, students in the program have access to more than twenty-five adult, pediatric, prenatal and specialty genetic clinical training sites in the Baltimore-Washington area (See: Washington DC/Baltimore Area Clinical Rotation Sites).

In addition, most students complete rotations at the NIH Clinical Research Center. These experiences are linked to investigations into the cause and clinical history of genetic conditions and behavioral issues surrounding the use of genetic testing. Students are exposed to cutting-edge molecular genetics research at NHGRI, providing them a rich training experience.

The Baltimore-Washington area provides diverse opportunities for students to learn more about the role of a genetic counselor in non-clinical positions (See: Non-Clinical Genetics Training Opportunities). These opportunities include commercial and academic laboratories and education- and advocacy-focused organizations. Because of its proximity to the U.S. capital, the program is able to provide rare opportunities for students to be involved in policy analysis and development (See: Genetics Policy Opportunities).

Evaluation of rotations

Preceptors evaluate each student's performance and students are asked to complete a self-evaluation of their progress. Additionally, students are asked to provide feedback to the clinical supervisor(s).

Who are the preceptors at clinical rotations?

Most of the preceptors for clinical rotations are board-certified genetic counselors. Those who are not (e.g., medical social workers, nurse practitioners, physicians, etc.) enhance the students' clinical training by exposing them to a variety of disciplines. The American Board of Genetic Counseling endorses this type of broad experience.

Summer rotations

Students may elect to complete their summer rotations in the Baltimore-Washington area or elsewhere. Many students choose to do a summer rotation outside of the United States (See: International Training Sites). An international summer rotation is an opportunity to see how genetics is practiced in another country and expand the profile of genetic counseling. For some, the summer is an opportunity to rotate at a genetics clinic near their home.

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Last Reviewed: February 21, 2012