Clinical Rotations

Students in the program have access to multiple rotation sites and have the opportunity to take part in a broad range of clinical placements.

As students gain experience, their role and responsibilities in the clinical setting will progress until they are ultimately able to counsel independently.

Note: All clinical rotations have been developed and are evaluated in accordance with the Practice-Based Competencies established by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling.

All students will participate in the following rotations during their training:

  • Introduction to Clinical Rotations
    • This module is intended to introduce and prepare students for learning in a clinical setting. Concepts covered include chart review, literature searches, case presentations and expectations for clinical rotations.
  • Provincial Medical Genetics Program
    • The Provincial Medical Genetics Program (PMGP) within the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia serves as the main referral centre for genetic services in British Columbia. Based at BC Women’s Hospital, the PMGP sees approximately 5000 patients per year for a wide spectrum of indications and range from prenatal, pediatric to adult.
  • Hereditary Cancer Program
    • The Hereditary Cancer Program provides hereditary cancer services for the Province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territories, with an annual patient volume of approximately 2000 appointments. Students can see a wide range of patients in the Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Surrey clinics, as well as in Victoria during summer rotations. Students also gain experience in counselling through videoconference connections to patients in rural and remote areas.
  • Maternal Ambulatory Program
    • The Maternal Ambulatory Program (MAP) at BC Women’s Hospital is a multidisciplinary clinic involving Perinatologists, Pediatric Cardiologists, Radiologists, Sonographers, and Registered Nurses. MAP provides service, education, and research in diagnostic ultrasound, fetal assessment, and prenatal procedures for pregnant women across British Columbia

Additional clinical rotations are available to ensure a broad range of practice areas and clinical models. These additional experiences include the following sites:

  • Adapt Clinic
    • The Adapt Clinic provides genetic counselling to people living in British Columbia who have a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder, or a family member with a psychiatric disorder. The Adapt Clinic is located at BC Women's Hospital.
  • Adult Metabolic Disease Clinic
    • The Adult Metabolic Clinic, located at Vancouver General Hospital, is responsible for the treatment and ongoing medical care of adults with various metabolic diseases in British Columbia. This is a multidisciplinary clinic involving an endocrinologist, a neurologist, a medical biochemist, a biochemical geneticist, a genetic counsellor, a social worker, a psychologist, nurses and dieticians.
  • British Columbia Inherited Arrhythmias Program
    • The British Columbia Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) at St. Paul’s Hospital is an out-patient, multidisciplinary clinic involving adult and pediatric electrophysiologists, medical geneticists, cardiac nurses, and genetic counsellors. Serving all British Columbia, BCIAP provides assessment, treatment, and support for individuals and families with inherited arrhythmias
  • Fertility Clinics
    • Various fertility clinics with genetic counsellors on staff support student learning in the setting of assisted reproduction and fertility care.
  • Industry and Commercial Laboratories
    • Rotations in commercial laboratory settings will expose students to a wide variety of genetic counsellor roles, including customer clinical support, marketing, management, variant interpretation, and medical professional liaison. Current partners include Blueprint Genetics, Canexia Health, Dynacare, and Quest Diagnostics.
  • Translational Psychiatric Genetics Group
    • The Translational Psychiatric Genetics Group (TPGG) conducts psychiatric and genetic counselling research and founded the world’s first genetic counselling clinical service for people with psychiatric disorders and their families (The Adapt Clinic). The research conducted by this group uses a clinical genetics perspective to inform the development of novel biological and non-biological interventions to improve outcomes for people with mental illness and their families. The TPGG team is made up of genetic counsellors and other staff/students, led by Dr. Jehannine Austin and is located at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.
  • UBC Hospital Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders
    • The UBC Hospital Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders (UBCH-CARD) is an out-patient, multidisciplinary clinic involving neurologists, geriatricians, a neuropsychiatrist, neuropsychologist, social worker, and genetic counsellor. Serving all of British Columbia, UBCH-CARD provides assessment, treatment, and support for individuals with Alzheimer disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative memory disorders.

Students will participate in laboratory rotations and experiential learning modules to gain an understanding and familiarity with laboratory processes and techniques. These experiences will use a variety of different teaching methods including observation, self-directed learning, seminars, case-based learning, and hands-on experience. Laboratory rotations and experiential modules include:

  • Biochemical Genetics Laboratory
    • This rotation covers a variety of topics related to inherited metabolic disorders, using a combination of lectures, case-based learning and a laboratory visit.
  • Cytogenetics Laboratory
    • This rotation covers a variety of topics related to clinical cytogenetics, using a combination of lectures, interactive case vignettes, problem-based learning cases and a laboratory rotation.
  • Embryofetal Pathology
    • The embryofetal pathology (EP) service is a program of the Anatomical Pathology Division within the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department at BC Children's and Women's Hospitals. This rotation exposes students to the process of an EP autopsy and to autopsy findings in genetic syndromes and diseases.
  • Genome Analysis Module
    • This module exposes students to genome analysis for rare disease diagnosis. Students get hands-on experience with high performance computing and Linux programming, are exposed to common genomics file formats, follow a standardized analysis pipeline for analyzing next generation sequencing data, and visualize and interpret candidate variants underlying genetic disease.
  • Laboratory Genetic Counsellor Module
    • The objectives of this module are to familiarize students with roles a genetic counsellor can have in a laboratory setting. Students will gain an understanding of clinical molecular genetics diagnostics and new emerging molecular genetic technologies, and their implications for genetic counselling.
  • Molecular Genetics Laboratory
    • This rotation covers a variety of topics related to molecular diseases in a combined problem based/tutorial learning format.
  • Prenatal Biochemistry Laboratory
    • The British Columbia (BC) Prenatal Biochemistry Laboratory at British Columbia Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Department of Pathology is the one public health prenatal screening laboratory serving BC and the Yukon. This laboratory is part of the BC Perinatal Services Prenatal Screening Program and receives support from the program’s director and program manager.

Students in their second year will have the opportunity to choose supplemental clinical experiences in multidisciplinary inter-professional clinics based at various locations, including BC Children’s Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, the Children and Family Research Institute and private fertility clinics. These experiences are typically 1-3 days long and may include (but are not limited to):

  • Adult Cardiac Function Clinic
  • Adult Metabolic Clinic
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies/Fertility Clinic
  • Biochemical Diseases Clinic
  • Centre for Huntington Disease
  • Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic
  • Craniofacial Clinic
  • Cystic Fibrosis Clinic
  • Hemoglobinopathy Clinic
  • Hemophilia Clinic
  • Midwifery
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • PHSA Ethics Service
  • Spinal Cord Clinic
  • Translational Psychiatric Genetics Group