The University of Manitoba master of science in Genetic Counselling Program earned full accreditation status from the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC).
This program, established in 2017, provides a two-year curriculum for graduates to gain expertise in clinical genetics and genomics, interpersonal and counselling skills, research design and management, education, professionalism and advocacy.
Students complete clinical rotations and simulations, intra and interprofessional coursework, a master of science thesis, and numerous ancillary experiences, such as attendance at patient support groups, and community outreach.
Each year, the program selects a cohort of three learners from approximately 80-100 applicants and six students are enrolled in the program at any one time. Our graduates are eligible for Canadian Board of Genetic Counselling and American Board of Genetic Counseling certifications. Our first cohort of graduates was in 2019, and thus far, graduates have achieved 100 per cent pass rates on these certifying examinations and are employed as genetic counsellors from coast to coast.
Genetic counselling training programs in Canada and the United States are accredited through the ACGC. After submission of our curriculum plan in 2017, our program was granted New Program Accreditation Status, which is effective until one year after the graduation of the first class (with required annual status reports).
In Fall 2020, the program submitted a self-study, applying for Full Accreditation Status, and underwent a virtual site visit in February 2021. We were reviewed for compliance to the ACGC standards across 11 areas, including administration, curriculum and instruction and evaluation.
The accreditors’ report documents that we comply with all ACGC accreditation standards in these 11 areas. Thus, we were granted full accreditation status for a period of six years, which is the maximum time allowed for programs transitioning from New Program Status.
The site visitors recognized many program strengths and provided areas for improvement to continue to remain in compliance with these standards, which will be carefully reviewed by program committees as we continue to investigate ways to improve our program.
On behalf of the GCP, program director Jessica Hartley would like to thank the fantastic and dedicated faculty, instructors, supervisors, staff, students and graduates who showcased the program during the site visit this February. She said they are also grateful for the continued support from the deans of graduate studies and health sciences both during and outside the site visit.
Hartley said they would also like to acknowledge the Departmental Accreditation Working Group for presenting the program for review and the Integrated Accreditation Unit of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences for coordinating the site visit, reviewing self-study materials and facilitating our mock accreditation.
Submitted by Jessica Hartley, program director of the master of science in genetic counselling program