AGCPD Retreat Press Release
The Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD), the professional organization for graduate programs that train future genetic counselors, met in Washington DC on July 16-18, 2018 for their biennial conference. This year, one hundred program leaders from 57 accredited and developing programs from around North America attended the two-day conference. There has been unprecedented growth in the number of accredited genetic counseling graduate programs over the last four years. This growth is due in large part to the strategic efforts of the AGCPD and its sister genetics organizations to increase the size of the genetic counseling workforce. “We knew that if we wanted to meet the increasing demand for genetic counseling services we had to do something pretty dramatic to increase the number of students we were training annually, “ says AGCPD president and director of the Wayne State program Angela Trepanier. “The fact that attendance at this conference has increased 50% since 2016, shows that we are making progress.” To support the growth of genetic counseling programs, the conference included educational sessions on mentoring new program directors to ensure success as well as training novice clinical supervisors. “Our profession is in a unique position of extraordinary workforce growth. This retreat is a chance to bring like-minded experts together, strategically plan for the future, and learn from each other,” said Quinn Stein, program director at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and co-chair of the conference committee.
The Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), the accrediting body for graduate programs that train genetic counseling students, was also present at the conference. “ACGC fosters excellence in education for the future of genetic counseling, which is a shared goal with AGCPD. Our organizations work closely together to ensure that the expansion of the genetic counselor workforce is grounded in high quality graduate education and it is exciting to see the number of program leaders attending the meeting this week,” said Amanda Bergner, ACGC President.
The Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors is also focused on increasing the diversity of its growing workforce. As such, another objective of the conference was to develop strategies to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion. “We want to make sure that our workforce reflects the diversity of the populations we serve, and like many health professions, we are actively working to make this a reality. We hope what we learn at the conference will give us a path forward,” said conference committee co-chair, Colleen Campbell from the University of Iowa.