Welcome From the Director

August 2022

We approach the beginning of the 22-23 academic year with heavy hearts, as we expect that the Class of 2023 will be the final cohort of graduates from the Brandeis University Genetic Counseling Program.

As a Program not housed in a Medical School, there has always been the challenge of having adequate resources, both within our institution and externally. An increase in training programs across the country has continued to stress clinical sites and supervisors, with the Covid pandemic in 2020 exacerbating the situation. While we have been asked by our university to increase our student cohort size for financial reasons, there are not sufficient clinical resources to guarantee the training our students deserve. As a result, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has opted to keep us on admissions hiatus this year and recommend to the Board of Trustees to close the Genetic Counseling Program at Brandeis.

Despite the evolution of genetic counseling training since the Brandeis program was created by Judith Tsipis to honor her son Andreas, its core fabric has remained the same. Since its inception in 1992, over 250 graduates have spent time in a setting that serves individuals with disabilities, visited with families to get a glimpse into their day to day lives, and listened to countless stories about how a genetic condition has affected them, in both negative and positive ways. This has fostered student growth as both genetic counselors and human beings, allowing them to become health professionals who provide kind and compassionate care to patients from different backgrounds and circumstances based on their own unique stories. Our graduates, applicants and even leadership from other programs have always acknowledged the value of our Program’s perspective. 

In the last 28 years, our graduates have made a difference in the field of genetic counseling. They work in many practice areas; a wide array of clinical settings, biotech companies that provide genetic testing and those working on better treatments and cures for genetic disease, research, education, insurance and public health. They have forged new paths for genetic counselors in other areas of healthcare, been leaders in our profession across many organizations, and continue to train the genetic counselors of tomorrow to be change makers. All this while, in the clinic, making a difference in the lives of individuals and families with their compassion and kindness. I am certainly sad to see the end to this incredible legacy. Yet I am also proud of all who have graduated from the Brandeis Program and to have been a part of the training, in some way, for so many of its students. I am absolutely certain our graduates will continue to make an impact both now, and for years to come.

gretchen schneiderGretchen Schneider

Gretchen Schneider
Director, Graduate Program in Genetic