After the release of the complete version of the human genome in 2003, the field of medical genetics experienced a revolution in the speed of discoveries which positively affected human health. The clinical and genomic breakthrough of the medical genetics field has aided the translation and integration of genomics into health care and the introduction of personalized medicine improving level of service offered to patients.
The high incidence of various genetic disorders in KSA and in the Arab world, the implementation of national programs of new born and premarital screening have significantly increased the demand for properly trained Genetic Counselors to work with patients and their families. Genetic counseling training programs have been around in North America since the late sixties. These training programs have proven to be highly successful in graduating well trained genetic counselors, where currently there are thousands of them practicing worldwide.
The Department of Medical Genetics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in affiliation with Alfaisal University in Riyadh have recognized the importance of such an essential specialty and are committed to establish the first Master's training program in genetic counseling located at Alfaisal University. The goal of this program is to meet the current and future demand of healthcare system for highly qualified, competent and culturally sensitive genetic counselors in Saudi Arabia and in the region.
Based on letter number 18003583 dated 27/01/1440H 7 Oct 2018 from SCHS university Graduate programs / Clinical and nonclinical ,are not required to have SHCS approval or accreditation. The only approval required for any program is from MOE and NCAAA.
What is Genetic Counseling?
According to the National Society of Genetic Counseling (NSGC) in USA genetic counseling is defined as "the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. This integrates interpretation of family and medical histories to assess disease occurrence and recurrence, education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research. It also integrates counseling to promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition".
Where do Genetic Counselors work?
Genetic counselors work in almost all fields of healthcare. Below are some of the areas where genetic counselors work:
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies/Infertility
- Cardiovascular Genetics
- Familial Cancer Risk Counseling
- Fetal Intervention & Therapy
- Newborn and premarital screening
- Metabolic Genetics
- Pediatric Counseling
- Prenatal Counseling/Ultrasound Anomalies
- Diagnostic laboratories
- Educational and medical websites
- Pharmaceutical industry