Genetic Counselor Training Program in Genomic Medicine Research

This program is intended to provide genetic counselors (GC) an opportunity to work with mentors on one or more projects to gain research-specific expertise and knowledge. Mentors are available in a range of medical specialties. 

Program Description

There are three main components to the training program: 1) research expertise, 2) coursework, and 3) participation in informal learning opportunities. 

The majority of time will be based in the research setting, with the remaining time devoted to coursework and informal learning. We recognize GCs may come from diverse backgrounds or work experiences, and we will work with each GC to develop an individualized training plan to optimize their learning experience in the program.

Training Requirements/Support

  • Trainees will be required to devote a minimum of six person-months (50% full-time professional effort over one year or 100% effort for six months); trainees can start anytime after October 15, 2020.
  • Trainees are required to attend the yearly NHGRI Genomics Training meeting in Spring 2021 (will be held remotely by UCLA); funding provided.
  • Trainees must select a mentor to work with. We have a long list of mentors available for our post-docs that are also available for trainees in this program to choose from. We've also added Jennifer Cohen, Allyn McConkie-Rosell, Vandana Shashi, Andrew Landstorm and Kathleen Cooney to our list of available mentors specifically for this program. If you do not have a lab or research project in mind, we can help identify one that would align with your research interests and training goals. 
  • The funding agency — NHGRI — requires GCs to attain the following skills/experience through this program. We can work with your mentor to ensure you'll get experience in these areas.
    • Formulating a research question
    • Scientific writing 
    • Study design and measurement
    • Data management and analysis
    • Clinical trials management
    • Responsible conduct of research
  • Award will support tuition remission for a class next spring.


Applicants must be a board-certified or board-eligible genetic counselor.

Program Directors

Geoff Ginsburg headshotGeoff Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Genetic Counselor Training Program in Genomic Medicine Research





Susanne Haga headshotSusanne B. Haga, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Genetic Counselor Training Program in Genomic Medicine Research





Meet our Genetic Counselors

The first trainees to participate in this program, genetic counselors Azita Sadeghpour, Ph.D., and Ruth Lehan, are currently engaged with Lori Orlando, M.D., associate professor of medicine (General Internal Medicine)’s Moonshot project, which aims to create a clinical model that improves identification and management of patients at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes. 

Azita Sadeghpour, Ph.D. also works with Dr. Orlando on an Implementing Genomics in Practice Pragmatic Clinical Trials Network (IGNITE PTN) study, A Depression and Opioid Pragmatic Trial in Pharmacogenetics (ADOPT-PGx), which explores the efficacy of genotype-guided drug therapy. She additionally aids the Chair of the Department of Medicine, Kathleen Cooney, M.D., on her Analysis of Germline Mutations Contributing to Prostate Cancer in African American Men.

Ruth Lehan works with Andrew Landstrom, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and cell biology, in developing best practices for digital patient education and informed consent through implementing creative communication techniques, such as infographics on electronic forms, to simplify scientific information for pediatric patients.