Genetic Counseling Program

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Development of a Web-Based Curriculum for Medical Students Addressing the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genetics. By Shana Merrill

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG) have communicated a great need for the education of physicians about the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetic testing and counseling. I partnered with Clinical Tools, Inc. (CTI), an established provider of online medical education, to create educational modules addressing ELSI in genetics. I served as the primary author of a module addressing prenatal carrier screening and diagnostic testing issues. After undergoing revisions based on expert consultation, the prenatal module was administered to medical students across the United States. Initial evaluation of the prenatal module (n = 318) concluded that it met the course objectives and increased medical students’ knowledge regarding prenatal issues. Additionally, medical students reported that they were satisfied with the course and intended to apply the information gained when addressing prenatal ELSI with patients.  From this capstone experience, I learned how to maintain productive communication with a team, the basics of HTML computer programming, and how to employ adult learning theories to develop case based instruction. Additionally, I gained a greater understanding of prenatal testing and associated ELSI.

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "



  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."




  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”