Educating Genetic Counselors in Australia: Developing an International Perspective
Journal of Genetic Counseling (Vol. 14, No. 4; pp. 283-294)
Margaret A. Sahhar (1, 4, 5), Mary-Anne Young (2), Leslie J. Sheffield (1, 4) and MaryAnne Aitken (3, 4)
(1) Genetic Health Services Victoria, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
(2) Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
(3) Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
(4) Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
(5) Genetic Health Services Victoria, 10th Floor Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, VIC, 3052, Australia
The demand for genetic counseling services is increasing worldwide. This paper highlights the Australian experience of genetic counselor education and the history of the profession. The relevance of local factors, including the healthcare system, the education system and the small population in the evolution of the 1-year training programs are considered as an alternative model for emerging programs. The development of the education and training processes compared to that of other countries namely the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada is discussed. The importance of international collaborations between the programs, to facilitate academic discussion and possible curriculum innovations, and to maintain professional understanding between genetic counselors is emphasized. Core genetic counseling competencies have been published for the UK and USA and an Australian set is proposed.
In conclusion future directions are considered, including international issues around genetic counseling certification, reciprocity, and the potential for an Australian role in training genetic counselors in South East Asia.
Margaret A. Sahhar
Abstract available online.
(C) Journal of Genetic Counseling.
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