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Student showing another student a book on chromosomes.

This year, the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Program at UNC Greensboro celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Genetic counseling provides information about how genetic conditions might affect an individual and their family. A genetic counselor uses personal and family health history to determine how likely it is that an individual or a family member has a genetic condition, and helps them understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease.

The program is the first and only of its kind in North Carolina and one of just 50 accredited genetic counseling programs across North America. UNCG was intentionally selected to house the program because of its central location in the state, giving students access to all of the major medical centers in North Carolina. The program was approved by the UNC Board of Directors in 1999, and courses began in the fall of 2000 with an inaugural cohort of seven students.

One of those students was Randi Stewart ’02, who now works with the program as an assistant program director and academic professional associate professor, in addition to her role as a pediatric genetic counselor at Cone Health.

“The program has changed and grown with the profession since I graduated in 2002, but the foundation remains the same – we still have the same truth and values at the heart of our program,” said Stewart. “UNCG positions us to provide the highest quality of clinical training to our graduate students in a supportive way which in turn benefits patients and the broader community.”

150 genetic counselors have graduated from the program, going on to work in 26 states and Canada and working in all sub-specialties of genetic counseling.

To celebrate the program’s anniversary, alumni, and supporters, a variety of events will be hosted over the next year. The festivities kick off with the launch of various virtual events that will be featured on the program’s social media channels (@uncggc), culminating with a gala in Greensboro next fall.

Upcoming events include:

Oct. 23, 2020 – Virtual Fall NCMGA Meeting
Oct. 23 – 24, 2020 – UNCG Virtual Homecoming
Oct. 24, 2020 – Greater Greensboro Buddy Walk
Oct. 27 – 31, 2020 – Virtual ASHG Meeting
Oct. 31, 2020 – Hallow-gene
Nov. 12, 2020 – Genetic Counselor Awareness Day
Nov. 18 – 22, 2020 – NSGC Annual Conference
Dec. 1, 2020 – National Day of Giving
Feb. 28, 2021 – Rare Disease Day
March 5, 2021 – Believe in the G
March 21, 2021 – National Down Syndrome Awareness Day
April 13 – 17, 2021 –ACMG Meeting
April 25, 2021 – DNA Day
May 7, 2021 – Capstone Presentations and Graduation
Fall 2021 – Gala Weekend

For more information and a calendar of events, visit gen.uncg.edu/20years.

Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications

 
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