Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Deborah Cragun, Ph.D., CGC

Committee Member

Alicia Best, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Marshall, Ph.D.


admission, diversity, ethnicity, genetic counselor, inclusion, training


Reasons for limited ethnic and racial diversity among genetic counselors in the United States may be elucidated through better understanding the experiences of minority students who are attending genetic counseling graduate programs as well as recent graduates. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with minority participants using Journey Mapping to elicit touchpoints that positively or negatively impact success at varying points on the path to becoming a genetic counselor. Touchpoints with negative impacts include; late awareness of the profession, observing the lack of diversity in the field, the financial burden of the application process, and microaggressions from peers, program leadership, and clinical supervisors. Touchpoints with positive impacts include; group or personal mentors, opportunities to interact with practicing genetic counselors, the opportunity to preform mock interviews for the admissions process, program interviews with a conversational interview style, and attending programs in a diversity city with a diverse patient population. Results suggest that larger investments in mentorship programs for prospective students, lowering the financial burden, and addressing non-minority implicit bias would provide support, resources, and the safe spaces these students feel they need.

Included in

Genetics Commons