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

Research Training

A trainee looking at a computer screenGenetic counseling seeks evidence to guide practice. Because one of the major goals of the program is to train students to conduct social, behavioral and policy research in the field of genetic counseling, a thesis project is required for graduation. It is expected that the theses will be of publishable quality. The program includes coursework (See: Program of Study) that provides students with the training and experience necessary to develop, conduct and report on research.

Students are provided with a generous research budget to conduct their thesis project, as well as technical assistance. Program faculty have diverse backgrounds and are experienced in addressing research questions that are currently being asked in the field of genetic counseling.

There are a number of important areas of research, including but not limited to: 

  • Assessment of client needs and expectations of clinical practice, methods for addressing needs and expectations, and the relationship to desirable client outcomes.
  • Effectiveness of genetic counseling interventions.
  • Evaluation of personal and shared decision making to use genetic technology or to act on results.
  • Impact of counseling on communication among family members and relationship dynamics.
  • Enhanced coping and adaptation of individuals and families at risk or affected with rare genetic conditions following genetic counseling.
  • Decision-making dynamics including the role and value of non-directiveness.
  • Client attitudes toward, and media presentation of, new genetic technologies and related ethical, medical and service delivery issues.
  • Efforts to reduce disparities in access to genetic testing and services for minority and traditionally under-served populations.

To begin to answer such questions, researchers with clinical experience in genetic counseling and expertise in social science research methods are needed. Training such researchers is a goal of this program.

Thesis Abstracts and Publications 1999-2015 PDF file

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Last Updated: April 2, 2015