Genetic Counseling Program

International Ties

Janice Edwards
Janice Edwards, MS, CGC
Director, USC Genetic Counseling Program
Founding President, Transnational Alliance for Genetic Counselin

The Genetic Counseling Program has special interest in the international education of genetic counselors. Program director, Janice Edwards, has interacted with genetic counseling education programs internationally for several years. Edwards was awarded the 2004-2005 Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship through the NSGC to promote international collaboration in genetic counseling education. In 2006 the first ever international conference on genetic counseling education entitled, "Genetic Counseling Education: Connecting the Global Community" gathered genetic counseling professionals from fifteen countries in Manchester, United Kingdom. The major conference outcome was the creation of a collaborative network, the Transnational Alliance for Genetic Counseling. TAGC met again in Barcelona 2008, Montreal 2011, celebrated the 10 year anniversary at TAGC Barcelona 2016! Edwards was recognized in 2010 with the International Leader Award by the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

International clinical rotation exchanges have evolved from these interactions as a special dimension in genetic counseling education. In the summer of 2002, USC's Kristin Frazer visited the University of Melbourne for a six-week rotation in which she also completed research for her master's thesis comparing prenatal genetic counseling in the two countries. That same year Penny Pitt from the University of Melbourne came to Columbia to further her studies in the field of prenatal and infertility genetic counseling. Other USC students have ventured internationally with Beth Lutz pursuing her summer rotation in Manchester, United Kingdom, Jeanie Schaller in Melbourne, Australia, and Christina Rybak in Cape Town, South Africa. The program also enjoyed hosting New Zealander, Ali Archibald, and Aussies Catherine Beard and Josh Shultz, for rotations as part of the University of Melbourne training. Most recently, Devon Haynes and Niamh White completed their summer rotation in London and Dublin, respectively. Most recently, Kacie Baker spent her summer rotation at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland and in 2017, another Melbourne student will join us for clinical rotation.  The learning potential from exploring the genetic counseling profession in another country is enormous; genetic counseling students everywhere are encouraged to consider international rotations!