Genetic & Genomic Assistantship
Become part of the future of healthcare. Complete the Columbia University Genetic & Genomic Assistantship and learn more about how genetics and genomics are being incorporated across medicine to improve care and outcomes for patients.
What is a Genetic & Genomic Assistant?
A new role, often known as a Genetic Counselor Assistant (GCA) or Genetic Assistant (GA), has recently emerged within genetic services. A GCA provides support to one or more genetic counselors, and a GA provides support to one or more physicians or other healthcare providers working in genetic and genomic medicine. GCAs/GAs play important roles in carrying out clinical, research, and administrative duties. Integrating GCAs/GAs into the workforce has been shown to improve access for patients and contribute to cost savings for hospitals and medical practices.
Who works as a GCA/GA?
GCAs/GAs are passionate about high quality patient care and improving access to genetic and genomic healthcare for all. They are good communicators, enjoy working with people, and are detail-oriented and organized. People with a variety of different educational backgrounds and work experiences take roles as GCAs/GAs. GCAs/GAs gain exposure to the practice of genetic counseling and clinical genetics, developing key skills that improve their job performance and satisfaction.
Why is GCA/GA training important?
Unlike other healthcare support staff (i.e., certified nursing assistant) who complete specialized training, GCAs/GAs often enter their role with no specific training. This means that GCAs/GAs are learning the skills they need while they are on the job and often without formal mentoring. Our Genetic & Genomic Assistantship introduces learners to key concepts and skills, genetics terminology, and clinical work flow to prepare them to be successful entering a GCA/GA position. Training can help set apart prospective GCAs/GAs in the job market and provide exposure to the practice of genetic counseling and clinical genetic medicine, which can contribute to the process of preparing to apply to genetic counseling or other healthcare education programs.
Columbia University Genetic & Genomic Assistantship
The assistantship provides an overview of genetic services within various specialty clinics and how they function as part of the healthcare system. This training is ideal for anyone preparing to become a GCA/GA or interested in learning more about the role, as well as for practicing healthcare providers beginning to implement genetics and genomics into their practice. Learners engage with and improve their skills related to:
- Healthcare communication
- Constructing and interpretating pedigrees
- Facilitating genetic testing
- Preparing for a successful career as a GCA/GA
The assistantship includes eight (8) learning modules that are completed sequentially. Learners can receive a certificate of completion, this training does not confer any college-level credit.
- Module 1 - Introduction to genetic counseling
- Module 2 - Healthcare systems and social determinants of health
- Module 3 - Healthcare in the United States
- Module 4 - Communication skills in healthcare
- Module 5 - Clinical genetics: What to expect
- Module 6 - Family history: The bread and butter of genetic counseling
- Module 7 - Ins and outs of genetic testing
- Module 8 - Course wrap-up and evaluation
The assistantship is offered in several different formats so you can choose the program that is right for you. All programs are supported by experienced genetic counselors and include scheduled online 'office hours' to allow for Q&A with our faculty about the skills and topics you are learning.
- Cohort Program: a 7-week learning experience facilitated by experienced genetic counselors and taken simultaneously with other learners, this format incorporates asynchronous learning modules, live online group workshops to build both skills and community, and assignments with feedback to practice your skills
- Self-Paced Program: a completely self-paced learning experience that you can complete on your own schedule (maximum time to completion is 4 months), this format incorporates asynchronous learning modules and assignments with feedback to practice your skills
- Accelerated/Onboarding Program: a 1-2 week learning experience intended for people who are just starting a GCA/GA role, to be integrated into the onboarding process, this format incorporates asynchronous learning modules, faculty support, and assignments with feedback to practice your skills
Learn more about upcoming dates and registration.