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UAEU Offers First Genetic Counselling Master’s Program in the UAE

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The Department of Genetics and Genomics at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has launched the first master’s program in Genetic Counseling in the UAE.

Supported by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH), the college aspires to enhance its outcomes by offering modern academic specializations, providing the community with an elite group of medical graduates to meet the needs of medical institutions, and enhancing clinical medical consultations.

Dr. Muna Al Saffar, Director of the Genetic Counselling Program at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (UAEU), said, “The Master of Genetic Counselling program is the first and only program in the UAE. It is a two-year academic and clinical journey designed specifically for individuals passionate about pursuing a specialized profession to support and improve the wellbeing of individuals and their extended families who are diagnosed or at risk for genetic disorders.

“Our program is dedicated to preparing our students with the needed skills and knowledge to positively impact the wellbeing of individuals at risk or diagnosed with genetic disorders and, most importantly, to reduce the burden of genetic conditions in the community at large.”

According to Emirates News Agency (WAM), this program aims to develop professional, qualified and competent genetic counselors; nurture the clinical counseling capability in various areas, including pediatric genetic assessment, prenatal diagnosis, cancer and adult genetics; attention to talents in psychological support; protect patients’ rights; and develop skills in clinical genetic research and community service.

Dr. Rashed Obaid Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of the Healthcare Workforce Planning Sector (DoH), has said, “The Department is proud to support the launch of the master’s program in genetic counseling at the UAE University. This launch underscores our collective commitment to fostering and strengthening capabilities and expertise in areas of high demand, such as genome science, genetic counseling, and personalized and precision medicine. This initiative contributes to our efforts to enhance the health and wellbeing of community members.”

Professor Fatma Al Jasmi, Chair of Genetics and Genomics at UAE University, said, “The program provides a balance of cutting-edge genomic technology with strong psychosocial counseling skills and research training. This program is designed for Emirati society and other multicultural backgrounds. The training will be applicable in the clinical setting of different healthcare providers in the UAE, in which it aims to improve genomics care by training highly qualified, competent, professional genetic counselors.”

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