The Genetic Counselling program requires enrolled candidates to complete 13 courses, including clinical rotations, laboratory practicum, and an independent research project.
Molecular Medicine in Human Genetic Disease
MSC 2010Y Molecular Medicine In Human Genetic Disease
Coordinators: Lucy Osborne and Stephen Scherer
This course should encourage students to develop an approach to the genetic analysis, investigation and treatment of human disease. Students will be introduced to useful tools and concepts that enable the study of a wide spectrum of human diseases. These include such topics as: population identification and sample collection; genome scanning with subsequent linkage analysis; mutation detection methods; copy number variation analysis and the use of animal models. Students will be required to prepare a Letter of Intent (LOI) for a proposal that discusses the genetic analysis of a specific human disease. Students will be advised to identify a preceptor to help with their proposal idea. (Time: 1 session 2 hours per week; students may also attend the Molecular Medicine Guest Lecture series which begins in the fall).
Clinical Rotations I
MMG 1120Y Clinical Rotations I
Coordinators: David Chitayat, Stacy Hewson and Susan Armel
This rotation will provide opportunities for students to observe various specialty clinics and thereby learn first-hand about some common genetic disorders. Students will see (and often speak with) patients/families alongside the interprofessional team of healthcare providers with expertise in those disorders. Students attend 1-4weekly half-day clinics from September through to the beginning of December. Specialty clinics include: adult and paediatric hemoglobinopathies clinic (thalassemia, sickle cell anemia), adult and paediatric cystic fibrosis clinic, Surrey Place Centre (children and adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities), hemophilia, Huntington disease, spina bifida/spinal cord, neuromuscular clinic, assisted reproductive technologies clinics and the Motherisk program (teratology information). In the second semester, students will attend and participate in the Genetic Metabolic and Newborn Screening Clinics, Prenatal Genetics Clinic, Breast/Ovarian Cancer, Laboratory Genetics as well as one of the following: Ocular Genetics, Cardiac Genetics or Adult Genetics. This will allow students to learn about and develop genetic counselling skills including case management (assessing new referrals, case work-up, and provision of genetic counselling, case follow-up). Refer to the Clinical Rotations Sites for details on clinic locations and to the Rotation Learning Objectives folder for clinic-specific learning objectives. Average time commitment: 8-10 hours per week, this time does not include preparation and review.
Issues in Genetic Counseling I
MMG 1122Y Issues In Genetic Counseling I
Coordinators: Diane Myles-Reid and Nicole Martin
This course will deal with current genetic counselling issues, with a strong emphasis on prenatal diagnosis and current ethical issues. The course will provide comprehensive information regarding screening and testing, decision-making and bereavement, and ethical, medical and social aspects of termination of pregnancy. The course will offer ample opportunities for student presentations of cases illustrative of issues discussed in class and patient presentations (to both 1st and 2nd-year students). (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week).
Principles of Effective Counselling
MMG 1124Y Principles Of Effective Counselling
Coordinators: Riyana Babul-Hirji and Laura Zahavich
This course will provide the theoretical foundations for the practice of genetic counselling and the role of genetic services in the health care delivery system. The focus will be on developing clinical skills to conduct interviews, present relevant genetic information to individuals and families from diverse cultural backgrounds in an informed, compassionate manner, and help obtain the medical and social services they need. The course will incorporate a review of the various psychodynamic approaches to interviewing and counselling via select theories. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week).
Clinical Issues in Pregnancy and Child Development
MMG 1126Y Clinical Issues In Pregnancy And Child Development
Coordinators: Andrea Staines and Nicholas Watkins
This course is designed to provide the knowledge base for understanding normal development in pregnancy and childhood. Students will learn about: the stages of pregnancy and fetal development and some common prenatal/reproductive complications; normal childhood development and methods of developmental assessment; the classification of developmental/intellectual disability and available special services; common abnormalities which affect the various anatomic systems. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week).
Risk Calculation and Research Methodology
MMG1128L Risk Calculation And Research Methodology
Coordinators: Stacy Hewson, Anna Szuto, Ny Hoang, Eriskay Liston and Leslie Steele
This course consists of two parts. The first semester will focus on research design and critical analysis of published data. The second semester will focus on applying statistical models to the practice of risk calculation in clinical genetics and genetic counselling. Through this course, students will also enhance their presentation skills, both written and oral. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week)
Tutorial in Molecular Genetics
MMG 1130Y Tutorial In Molecular Genetics
Coordinators: Lucie Dupuis and Amanda Carnevale
This tutorial allows students to focus on specific genetic principles and how these are applied in clinical practice. One student each week will lead a review of one chapter in Genetics in Medicine, 8th edition, or a complex genetic issue with an appropriate reading list to be distributed at least one week prior. We expect all students to complete all problems at the end of each chapter plus additional problem sets, and we will review these during the tutorial. These sessions will also complement issues presented in MSC 2010Y: Molecular Medicine in Human Genetic Disease. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week)
MMG 1132H Laboratory Skills
Coordinators: Leslie Steele and Anna Szuto
This course teaches current biochemical, cytogenetic and molecular laboratory technologies from a theoretical and laboratory approach. Students will also gain hands-on experience with software technologies (e.g. for variant analysis/interpretation). Weekly reading assignments will assist in preparation. This course will be held at the Hospital for Sick Children. (Time: 1 session, 3 hours per week)
Clinical Rotations II
MMG 1220Y Clinical Rotations II
Coordinators: David Chitayat, Stacy Hewson and Susan Armel
This rotation-based course will provide the students with the opportunities to further develop clinical skills by providing genetic counselling to patients and their families. This course will also support the development of case management skills (e.g. assessing new referrals, case work-up, provision of genetic counselling, case follow-up). Clinics will include paediatric genetics outpatient and inpatient services, prenatal genetics clinic, Cancer genetics (paeds or GI) and one of the following: Ocular genetics, Cardiac Genetics or Adult Genetics. A four-week elective opportunity is provided and students can select a preferred area of focus from those offered. Refer to the Clinical Rotations Sites for details on clinic locations and to the Rotation Learning Objectives folder for clinic-specific learning objectives. Average time commitment: 8-12 hours per week; this time does not include preparation and review.
Issues in Genetic Counseling II
MMG 1222Y Issues In Genetic Counseling II
Coordinators: Nada Quercia and Heather MacDonald
This course will provide a framework for exploration of legal, ethical and professional issues as related to the field of clinical genetics/ genetic counselling, including a discourse on disability rights. A workshop on professional skills development will be included in the second semester in anticipation of seeking and gaining employment, professional activities outside of the clinic, and balancing career with outside activities. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week).
Advanced Principles of Effective Counselling
MMG 1224Y Advanced Principles Of Effective Counselling
Coordinators: Susan Armel and Jillian Murphy
This course will build upon the theoretical foundations presented in Year 1 (i.e. MMG 1124Y) for the practice of genetic counselling. The focus will be on the continued development of clinical skills to conduct interviews, present relevant genetic information to individuals and families from diverse cultural backgrounds in an informed, compassionate manner, and help families obtain the medical and social services they need. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week).
Concepts in Clinical Genetics
MMG 1226Y Concepts In Clinical Genetics
Coordinators: David Chitayat and Stacy Hewson
This course provides an approach to establishing a differential diagnosis incorporating principles of embryological development, dysmorphology, inborn errors of metabolism, laboratory findings, and traditional and non-traditional genetic concepts (i.e. Mendelian inheritance, imprinting etc.). Whenever possible, disorders will be studied from the molecular defect to phenotype to burden. (Time: 2 sessions, 4 hours per week).
Independent Research Project
MMG 1228Y Independent Research Project
Coordinators: David Chitayat, Stacy Hewson, Susan Armel and Riyana Babul-Hirji
Mentor: Larissa Waldman
This course allows students to develop and implement a research study designed and carried out by them. While these studies most typically involve clinical research, a laboratory-based study may be acceptable. The research must be relevant to the field of genetic counselling or clinical genetics. Students will undertake preparatory work during the first year in course MSC 2010Y, Molecular Medicine in Human Genetic Disease and course MMG 1128L, Risk Calculation and Research Methodology.
Cancer Genetic Counselling
MMG 1230H Cancer Genetic Counselling
Coordinator: Melyssa Aronson and Bailey Gallinger
This course is designed to prepare genetic counselling students with a strong foundation in the growing field of cancer genetics. It focuses on helping students to determine when to suspect hereditary cancers and will review the more common hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes. It will also focus on the impact that a cancer diagnosis or predisposition to cancer has on an individual and his/her family. In addition, this course demonstrates the impact of cancer management and treatment on individuals and other family members. (Time: 1 session, 2 hours per week).