- Advanced Research Training Certificate Program
Advanced Research Training for Genetic Counselors Certificate Program
What is the ART-GC Certificate Program?
The Advanced Research Training Certificate Program for Genetic Counselors (or ART-GC) is the first graduate level program that provides genetic counselors with specific advanced training targeted towards research to prepare them to lead biomedical, translational, behavioral, and/or clinical research studies in genomic medicine.
Genetics experts at five medical schools are collaborating on the design and instruction for this program:
- University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
- University of Washington School of Medicine
How long is the program?
The ART-GC program is a part-time, one-year program expected to be completed while the enrolled genetic counselor continues to work part-time in their current position. The University of Pennsylvania operates on an academic semester system. The first cohort of the ART-GC will begin classes in August 2023 and run through July 2024.
What about my job? Will I lose my benefits?
The certificate program works like a research sabbatical. Participants will devote 50% of their work time to the program while continuing to work half time in their current position. Grant funding covers the cost of tuition, and in addition, provides 50% salary support for one year to the participants' departments. This means that each trainee will remain a full-time employee of their institution with full time benefits, and that their institution has the resources to hire a part-time employee to cover their responsibilities.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost to participate. The Warren Alpert Foundation provided a $9.7 million grant (the Career Ladder Education Program for Genetic Counseling (CLEP-GC)) to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Program in 2022 to develop innovative career ladder opportunities for genetic counselors. This grant fully funds all aspects of the ART-GC certificate program. (See more below.)
Who can apply?
Certified genetic counselors from the five consortium programs are encouraged to apply. Two genetic counselors from each site will be enrolled each year, a cohort of ten trainees yearly (a total of 40 trainees over four years). It is expected that applicants would have several years of experience in genetic counseling, including some research, and an interest in pursuing additional research at a higher level.
What is the curriculum?
There are four required courses, including one elective. Courses are primarily asynchronous and are taken one at a time, in sequential seven-week blocks, two in the fall semester and two in the spring semester. Regular weekly synchronous online meetings provide students with opportunities to build on didactic learning.
Throughout their time in the program, each student also works closely with a research mentor to design and complete an individual research project in their area of interest. This can be a research project the student is already actively pursuing, or if desired, the student can propose a new research topic and be matched with a research mentor at their institution.
Research Design and Methodology
Manuscript and Grant Writing
Mentored Research Project
Mentored Research Project
Mentored Research Project
How do I apply?
Interested applicants will complete a brief online form which can be found at https://www.applyweb.com/upenng/index.ftl.
For enrollment in the fall of 2023, applications will be accepted beginning in mid-March, with a deadline of March 31st. Decisions will be announced in mid-April.
Applicants must upload required materials, which are listed here, to their applications through the admissions portal. For step-by-step instructions, click here.
- a completed application form with basic demographic information
- a current CV
- a copy of an active genetic counseling license, documentation of current ABGC certification, or a final, unofficial final transcript from an accredited genetic counseling program
- a letter from current supervisor or department head acknowledging the 50% reduction in availability during the enrollment year and the 50% compensation for salary support during that time from the Warren Alpert Foundation funded Career Ladder Education for Genetic Counselors grant.
- a brief (300-500 words) personal statement explaining interest in the ART-GC certificate program and advanced research. The statement should respond to the following prompt:
Please briefly explain your interest in the Advanced Research Training Certificate Program and how you expect this certificate program will enhance your research career. For example, you can share topics of interest or gaps in your past training that you would like to see addressed. Also, briefly describe a research topic you plan on focusing on for the program.
How will I benefit from earning the ART-GC certificate?
The ART-GC will provide advanced training on the topics listed above and fill gaps in previous training, with in-depth focus on research design, grant writing and manuscript preparation. Research and career mentors will be matched with each certificate student. In addition, students from the five participating institutions will interact with each other leading to networking and collaborative possibilities. A yearly seminar will be convened to allow trainees to share their research projects within the cohort and with the faculty leadership. After completing the program, each trainee will receive an official master’s certificate from the University of Pennsylvania.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
Contact Tiff Hartman PhD, LCGC, the Associate Director of the Advanced Research Training Certificate Program, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Kathleen Valverde, PhD, LCGC, co-PI for the Career Ladder Education for Genetic Counselors grant at email@example.com.
The Advanced Research Training for Genetic Counselors Certificate Program is funded by the Career Ladder Education for Genetic Counselors grant from the Warren Alpert Foundation.
In 2022, the Warren Alpert Foundation, a philanthropic group focused on public health, awarded a $9.7 million grant to PIs Kathleen Valverde, PhD, LCGC, and Daniel Rader, MD, to establish innovative programs that will help keep genetic counselors abreast of developments in the genomic medicine. Dr. Valverde is the Director of the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Program in the Perelman School of Medicine, and Dr. Rader is Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular Medicine and Chief, Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, in the Department of Medicine at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Chief of the Division of Human Genetics and Metabolic Disease Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Read more about the grant at https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2023/january/penn-awarded-grant-for-genetic-counselor-education-efforts.
Andrew Rhodes, Online Content Editor for Healio, an online journal for health care providers, interviewed Dr. Rader and Dr. Valverde about the history and anticipated impact of the CLEP-GC grant from the Warren Alpert Foundation. Read that here.
Wendy Ruderman, a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, interviewed PI Kathleen Valverde at the time of the grant's announcement. Read her article here.