Clinical and Laboratory Internships

The Detroit Medical Center and surrounding metropolitan health care systems offer an exceptional foundation for clinical genetics training. The diverse population found in the greater Detroit area provides a unique opportunity to explore how ethnic and cultural differences influence the effectiveness of clinical genetic services and the genetic counseling process. Students are active participants in a diversity of well established medical genetic and multidisciplinary clinics, training under experienced clinicians who are leaders in their fields. Students also gain hands-on clinical genetics laboratory experience in the molecular, biochemical and cytogenetics laboratories. Students begin their clinical internships in their first semester and continue throughout their training. The clinic and laboratory experiences are strategically planned to complement the concurrent classroom experience and enhance learning. The experiences include:

Observational Experiences (Fall, Year 1)

Beginning in October of the first semester, students are scheduled to attend a variety of clinics, many which are multidisciplinary clinics, to begin to observe how genetics is integrated into healthcare. These clinics are selected to provide an excellent opportunity to observe a team approach to the care of an individual with a chronic condition. Examples of observational clinical experiences include cystic fibrosis, autism, craniofacial, oncology and in-patient rounds with a geneticist.

Introductory Internship (Winter, Year 1)

The purpose of the internship during the first year is for students to begin to apply what they have learned during their course work to the clinical setting. Students will spend approximately 5-6 weeks at one genetics clinic (reproductive, pediatric or cancer site). Students will typically be assigned certain case preparation duties and begin practicing some aspects of face to face counseling.  Students will also observe other clinical experiences such as telephone genetic counseling and multidisciplinary clinics in pediatrics and cancer. Examples of introductory clinical experiences include cancer genetics, reproductive genetics, pediatric genetics, cardiogenetics, pre implantation genetic diagnosis, breast cancer multidisciplinary clinic and developmental disabililities multidisciplinary clinic. Students will also gain experience in a genetic counseling research rotation and in a laboratory genetic counseling workshop. 

Formal Clinical Internships (Summer, Fall and Winter, Year 2)

The purpose of the internship during the second year is for students to function, with supervision, as the primary genetic counselor in a variety of clinical settings. During this second year internship, students will acquire cases for their logbooks for program accreditation purposes. Students will be required to complete 4 seven-week rotations. Our program offers several options for pediatric, adult, reproductive and hereditary cancer clinics. Furthermore, students rotate through the Metabolic Clinic at Children's Hospital of Michigan which provides the follow-up for all positive newborn screens within the State of Michigan. With the permission of the program directors, students may choose to do one or two rotations as an elected away rotation the summer between their first and second years.

Laboratory Internship (Fall, Year 2)

Genetic counseling students will spend approximately three weeks each in the Cytogenetics Laboratory and the Molecular Genetics Diagnostic Laboratory and one week in the Biochemical Genetics Laboratory. During each rotation, the student is expected to perform relevant background reading, work through a case book containing typical examples of normal and abnormal test results, participate in ongoing laboratory testing, participate in laboratory meetings, and assist in interpreting laboratory results under the supervision of the laboratory director. 

Specialty Internship (Winter, Year 2)

Genetic counseling students will attend 2 three-week mini clinical rotations and one week doing additional clinic-related activities. Each mini clinical rotation will be focused on a particular specialty area of genetics with a variety of clinical opportunities depending on the specialty.  Students will have some patient-related genetic counseling responsibilities as well as some observational experiences. Examples of mini clinical rotations include neurology, cystic fibrosis, pediatric specialty and women's health.  In addition, students will be expected to work through a case book, present a synthesis of medical literature on a topic of their choosing and complete modules in the online bereavement training "Resolve through Sharing".

Clinical Experiences at Wayne State University

Wayne State

Contact Information

Genetic Counseling Graduate Program
Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics
Wayne State University School of Medicine
2375 Scott Hall
540 E. Canfield Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

Administrative Office:
(313) 577-6298
Fax: (313) 577-9137
Email: geneticcounseling@med.wayne.edu