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Clinical Rotations
Genetic counseling students have the opportunity to participate in patient care at world-renowned medical facilities. They typically see 200 cases or more and are exposed to a variety of genetic referral types as well as diverse medical systems.

 

Below, some alumni share their perspectives on the program's clinical rotations:


The area in close proximity to the school of public health is also filled with nearly countless hospitals, clinics, and research facilities all within walking distance, or accessible by bus which is free for students."
- Randy (Class of 2015)


You are embedded in one of the leading research universities and are surrounded by hospitals that people fly to from all over the world for treatment."
- Katya (Class of 2015)



I like the structure of our genetic counseling program in that almost all of the classroom course requirements are completed during the first two semesters. This gives the student the opportunity to focus on clinical cases in the second year."
- Stephanie (Class of 2015)


I credit my adaptability as a genetic counselor to my coursework at Pitt, guided by supervisors at the clinical rotations who always encouraged me to try my best in difficult counseling situations. Because most students see around 200 cases throughout their clinical rotations, the program really gives students a chance to TRY, rather than just observe."
- Cherise (Class of 2009)

 

Genetic Counseling Program Clinical Rotation Sites

Pittsburgh has a thriving healthcare community, with over 40 hospitals inside the metropolitan area. All of the rotation sites are located within the city of Pittsburgh. Several are located within walking distance from the Graduate School of Public Health. The other rotation sites are short bus rides away, and bus transportation is free with the use of a student's Pitt ID card.

 Rotation sites shown on the map include:

  1. Division of Medical Genetics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  2. Center for Medical Genetics and Genomics at Magee-Women's Hospital
  3. UPMC Cancer Genetics Program, Hillman Cancer Center 
  4. UPMC Cancer Genetics Program, Magee Women’s Hospital
  5. UPMC Cancer Genetics Program, UPMC Shadyside
  6. Prenatal Genetics Program at West Penn Hospital
  7. Cancer Genetic Program & Cardiac Genetic Program at Allegheny General Hospital
  8. UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
  9. Huntington’s Disease Clinic, UPMC Montefiore

Rotation schedules are divided into 11 blocks, with each block lasting three to four weeks. All students will spend three blocks in Cancer genetics, three blocks in Prenatal genetics, three blocks in Pediatric genetics and one block in Adult genetics. In addition, students spend three to four weeks (one block) at an optional rotation site. This allows students the opportunity to select specific training experiences to develop a higher level of expertise based on their interests. 

Examples of full student rotation schedules:

 

Examples of recent optional rotation experiences include:

  • Children and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Services (CABS) Clinic, Pittsburgh PA
  • Utilization Review Program, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Laboratory, Pittsburgh PA
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Genetics, UPMC, Pittsburgh PA
  • Whole Exome Sequencing and Clinical Application of Genomic Technology, Baylor Miraca Laboratories, Pittsburgh PA
  • Newborn Screening Program, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA
  • Ophthalmic Genetics Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA

Check out our student blog for student perspectives on their optional rotations.

 

In the first year of study and continuing through the clinical rotations, students also gain exposure to multiple sub-specialty clinics including:

  • Sickle Cell Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Metabolic Diseases Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Cardiovascular Genetics, Allegheny Health Network
  • Neurogenetics Clinics, UPMC
  • Down Syndrome Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU) Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSD) Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • High Risk Ovarian Cancer Clinic, Magee-Women's Hospital
  • Inpatient Genetics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Fetal Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Magee-Women's Hospital
  • Cancer Telemedicine, Magee-Women's Hospital
  • Prenatal Genetics Services in Satellite Clinics, Allegheny Health Network

Clinical Supervisor Spotlight

Roxanne Acquaro, MS, LCGC Licensed Certified Genetic Counselor, Supervisor of Clinical Genetic Services, Division of Medical Genetics, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Roxanne is a licensed certified genetic counselor and genetic counseling supervisor at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP). She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Genetic Counseling Program in 2003.  Pittsburgh has always been her home.  The majority of her career to date was spent as a prenatal genetic counselor at West Penn Hospital under the care and tutelage of their wonderful Gene Team.  She developed an outreach program at DuBois Regional Hospital where she was the only provider of genetic counseling services in all of the Northwestern communities of Central Pennsylvania. Those years spent as a prenatal genetic counselor allowed Roxanne to really learn and grown in the areas of psychosocial analysis and support, which she considers to be her predominate area of interest in the field of genetic counseling. 

She made the move to the Utilization Review Program at CHP in 2015. In 2016 another great opportunity through the Medical Genetics Department of CHP presented itself when the department was searching for a new GC Supervisor of Clinical Genetic Services.  This move in her career was made with the goal of improving service delivery models and efficiency to increase patient access to the amazing resources available in the department.  Roxanne still enjoys seeing pediatric genetic counseling patients as well as being the lead genetic counselor on the inpatient genetic service at CHP.  She finds the multitude of hats she gets to wear exhilarating and rewarding.  

She is currently working on her cooking and childrearing skills with a group of volunteers consisting of a husband and two young daughters who are willing to foster her continued growth in these areas by never being predictable and always needing something.

 

Click to see genetic counselors previously featured in our Clinical Supervisor Spotlight.

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