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Genetic counselling

Genetics and genomics - how often do you hear and see these words today in mainstream media, and in conversation with family, friends and workmates? Who are the people who will help us to understand what this all means for ourselves, and for our families? This course deep dives into the work of a genetic counsellor, the ways in which the profession is evolving and the future opportunities.

About this course

Government is investing in research that is driving the introduction of genomic technology into routine healthcare, meaning that access to information about our genetic makeup will be increasingly available. Genetic counsellors are allied health professionals who work at the interface between genetic and genomic science, and the individuals and families living with inherited conditions. In this course we introduce a fictitious family with a family history of cancer and explore the ways a genetic counsellor might work with them. We start with genetic counselling in 2018, reflect on the way history informs the development of the profession, and look to the future as we consider new directions for genetic counsellors. You will be guided by academics who are preparing the next generation of genetic counsellors and hear from practicing genetic counsellors working in a range of roles. You will be encouraged to think about the ways in which the profession of genetic counselling is evolving and the opportunities that lie ahead. 

Course structure

  • The present state
  • The history of genetic counselling
  • Peering into the future


Why you should do this course

  • Find out about the present state of genetic counselling
  • Learn about the roles of genetic counsellors
  • Develop an awareness of the way in which the history of genetics and genetic counselling informs the profession today
  • Consider the way that exciting developments in the field of genetics and genomics are opening up new opportunities for genetic counsellors

Who is this course for?

this course is for you if you are curious about genetics and genomics and some of the people who work at the interface between science and families. 

Free course


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Self paced

Meet the Expert

Rosie O'Shea

Rosie O'Shea
Associate Lecturer, Genetic Counselling

Rosie O’Shea is a Senior Genetic Counsellor who has ten year’s clinical experience in various clinical settings including general, prenatal, metabolic and oncology genetic counselling. She was Ireland’s Clinical Research Genetic Counsellor for the Deciphering Developmental Delay (DDD) whole exome sequencing project. Rosie is registered with the Genetic Counselling Registration Board (GCRB) and the European Board of Medical Genetics (EBMG). She is currently undertaking a PhD entitled "Preparing the health system for new genetic testing pathways for colorectal cancer"

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Dr Alison McEwen

Dr Alison McEwen
Head of Discipline (Genetic Counselling),

Alison is leading the establishment of a Master of Genetic Counselling in the Graduate School of Health. Alison came to UTS from Genetic Health Services New Zealand, where she worked as a senior genetic counsellor. Alison has held several positions with the Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors (ASGC) and the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA) during the past ten years, including chairing the ASGC between 2014-2016, and the HGSA Board of Censors in Genetic Counselling during the period when the training and certification guidelines underwent a substantial review. She was involved in the accreditation of Master of Genetic Counselling training programs. Alison is currently a member of a working group that is preparing an application for professional regulation of genetic counsellors. Alison’s research interests include genetic counsellor education and training, as well as understanding more about the ways in which genetic counsellors roles are evolving.

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Dr Chris Jacobs

Dr Chris Jacobs
Senior Lecturer, Genetic Counselling

Chris Jacobs is a UK Registered Genetic Counsellor with 19 years of clinical experience, mainly in the field of cancer genetics. She is also a UK Registered Nurse with a background in intensive care. Before moving to Sydney in 2015, Chris was the Consultant Genetic Counsellor in Cancer Genetics and joint lead for the cancer genetics service at the South East Thames Regional Genetics Service, based at Guy’s Hospital in London.
Chris has taught genetic counselling, nursing and medical students, as well as qualified health professionals and lay groups for many years. She ran a Masters' level module in cancer genetics for non-genetics health professionals for 10 years and was a visiting lecturer at King's College London. Chris has been involved in research throughout her genetic counselling career and has published in the area of cancer genetics and genetic counselling, including co-editing two books. She was awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellowship in the UK to investigate health professionals’ communication about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer with cancer patients at University College London. Alongside her teaching role, she is currently building the research aspect of the Discipline of Genetic Counselling within the Graduate School of Health at UTS.

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