C.W. Post Launches Long Island’s First Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling
Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
C.W. Post Campus,
Long Island University
Millions of people carry inherited genes that can lead to cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, heart conditions, manic depression, infertility, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions. Genetic testing is becoming a preferred option for families to determine if they are carriers of a particular disease or are at-risk of acquiring a malady for which they may be genetically predisposed.
As patients and their families face the need to make life-altering decisions about their health, the demand has increased for professionals who can help them to understand and to act upon genetic test results.
The C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville is addressing the growing need for genetic counselors who are skilled in both DNA and mental health counseling by offering a new Master of Science in Genetic Counseling. Distinguished as the first graduate-level genetic counseling program on Long Island, and only the third in New York state, the two-year degree is provisionally accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Admissions applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with preference given to applications received by March 1. Classes begin September 7, 2010.
A genetic counselor is a vital member of a health care team who is trained to evaluate a patient’s personal and family history for inherited medical conditions. The counselor identifies families at risk, interprets information about disorders, analyzes inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence, and reviews available options such as surgery, behavior modification or additional testing.
Bhuma Krishnamachari, the former director of genetic services at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., has been appointed director of clinical genetics at C.W. Post. "It is truly a privilege to work in the field of clinical genetics, as I can help patients be proactive about their health by knowing their hereditary background," Krishnamachari said. "There is no field of medicine that offers as much hope as clinical genetics."
Joyce E. Fox, M.D., chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at Schneider Children's Hospital of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, will serve as medical director of the C.W. Post Genetic Counseling program. "The field of genetics has been growing at an exponential rate due to advances in genetic technology and research," Dr. Fox said. "Genetic counselors are essential personnel in the process of explaining how genetics and new advances apply to individuals and their families. There are too few genetic counselors, especially in some parts of the country."
As part of their program of study, students will participate in clinical training at three major area health organizations: North Shore-LIJ Health System, Winthrop University Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center.
For more information visit the C.W. Post Web site www.liu.edu/cwpost/genetic or call 516-299-3926.
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