Genetic Counseling Director's Note - Fall 2020

Dear Genetic Counseling alumni and friends,

Welcome to the first edition of our University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling program newsletter! As we kick off the academic year, we wanted to keep you updated on all that is happening with the program. 

Leadership transition
Longtime director Bonnie LeRoy stepped down as head of the program this spring and began phased retirement. During this transition, she will finish the revision of the second edition Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and Skills. Bonnie has been critical to our success as a program and we wish her all the best as she steps into this new stage of life.  

A new Ph.D. program
This fall, we launched the Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDB&G) Ph.D./M.S. in Genetic Counseling. Through this combined program, students will explore new spaces in precision medicine and genetic counseling. By combining an education in genetic counseling with the research elements of our MCDB&G program, we hope to push the boundaries of our understanding in genetics and incorporate this knowledge into the field of genetic counseling. We admitted 1 student into the first cohort of this program!

Growing enrollment
In addition to offering this new degree, we also plan to expand our efforts to meet the growing demand for genetic counselors nationwide. This fall, we’re growing our class size to 12 students in our master’s degree program and adding undergraduate curriculum that focuses on culture, personalized medicine and professional development. 

Fostering community
As you know, building community with your peers and connections with those in the field of genetic counseling is critical to finding success after graduating. As an alumnus, we know you are important in helping our students succeed, not only in building those relationships but helping us create effective programming that will translate to student success in the future.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve as the new director of this program. With its history of leadership in the field of genetic counseling, I consider it a great responsibility to build on the incredible legacy of those who came before and look forward to working with our wonderful community to continue offering exceptional research and training for the genetic counselors of tomorrow.

I wish you all the best this fall and hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

Heather Zierhut
Director, Genetic Counseling Graduate Program