YourDNA today announced the inaugural winner of its “Future Genetic Counselor Scholarship” program.
The program awards a $2,000 scholarship to a student currently enrolled in accredited educational training programs in genetic counseling, as administered by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC).
Applicants answered the prompt: “Given the bottlenecks in the current healthcare system, how might changes be structured to increase access to genetic counseling services?”
Seth Stafki, a student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities genetic counseling program, submitted the winning essay.
Mr. Stafki offered compelling insight on potential areas for improving bottlenecks, including ideas to support genetic counselors with technology, as well as staff support to allow for an increase in patient-facing time.
The program received an overwhelming response of applicants, with roughly 20% of the incoming class of students in master’s programs for genetic counseling submitting an essay.
The winning student was chosen by a panel made up of certified genetic counselors and a select group of employees at YourDNA.
Today, there are roughly 5000 licensed genetic counselors according to the ABGC, with only a percentage of those working ‘in clinic’, or directly with patients.
The resulting challenge is a structural shortage of licensed professionals qualified to meet the exploding demand for their services.
Prior to his acceptance and enrollment at UM-TW, Mr. Stafki spent time working in a cancer genetics clinic. His work offered a unique opportunity for hands-on experience working alongside professionals in the field, and shaped his outlook on the current challenges facing genetic counselors and a growing patient population.
YourDNA hopes to continue to address the shortage of genetic counseling resources available to both patients and practitioners by helping answer the question, “What Now?”
The 2020 Future Genetic Counselor Scholarship will begin accepting applications in the Spring of 2020. Visit this page to apply.
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