Second Semester So Far...

It’s hard to believe we are already a month into our second semester at the University of Cincinnati.  While it was wonderful being able to spend time with friends and family over the holiday break, we were eager to return to Cincinnati and dive right back into our new classes!  These classes include cancer genomics, embryology/teratology and ethics.  Our schedule also includes new clinical rotations. 
 It has been a busy, but exciting month.  The first years are finishing up presenting their thesis projects to the Division of Human Genetics.  These presentations allow us to gain helpful feedback and suggestions from statisticians, researchers, physicians, nurses and genetic counselors within the department.  It has also been a chance to hear fellow students discuss their research plans. 
                This week marks the end of our first clinical rotation of the semester.  This rotation allowed us to practice more of our clinical skills.  All first years have been taking on roles including taking medical histories, family pedigrees, explaining inheritance, talking over testing options, using psychosocial counseling skills, disclosing results and writing patient letters.  This is the third clinic the first years have rotated through.  The diversity in clinics offered both at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and other surrounding medical centers have allowed us to see a wide variety of cases and genetic conditions.   As students we have been able to begin seeing the differences between various types of clinics.  Courtney Lewis, a first year student says, “I am currently rotating through the lysosomal storage diseases clinic in which I have had the opportunity to counsel a number of patients with very rare conditions.  It has also given me insight into the clinical research trial process of developing novel treatments”
                In addition to our clinical rotations, many students have also been able to find time to observe genetic counseling sessions with patient populations relevant to their thesis.  This not only gives the student a chance to see more cases, but also to begin to better understand the conditions we are researching.   
                The second years are currently spending much of their time analyzing the data they collected for their thesis and writing their manuscripts.  While the second year curriculum focuses mainly on thesis work and clinic, the second years do have a few classes including the brand new laboratory genetics class.  Katelin Peterson, a second year genetic counseling student thoroughly enjoys this new addition to the syllabus and says; “it has been such a great experience to learn more about laboratory genetic counseling.  I feel it will give me competitive edge when searching for jobs.”  The second years are currently finishing up their ninth clinical rotation, and many of them have surpassed one hundred cases recorded in their log books. 
                The University of Cincinnati’s Genetic Counseling Master’s Program was recently informed that they received a grade of an A from the UC Graduate Program Review Committee.  This review was a comprehensive examination of the program, looking at things such as the strength of the students, the recruitment methods of the program, the current courses, and the faculty and staff.  
                The staff and students are beginning to prepare for interview season.  This year the program received over 150 applications, a record high.  As the faculty reads over applications the students are becoming more and more eager to meet the candidates for next year’s class.   Good luck to all of you who have applied!

Cincinnati Skyline