The birth of the University of Washington School of Medicine in the early 1950's coincides with the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. As a founding component, the Medical Genetics Training Program has kept apace of genetic advances and has served as the linchpin between the clinical and molecular sciences that has propelled this institution to a position of academic leadership. The Training Program's graduates have made outstanding contributions to the body of knowledge of genetic disease and occupy top faculty positions throughout the international medical genetics research community. The Medical Genetics Training Program is coordinated with the Medical Genetics Residency. The Program offers comprehensive research and continuing didactic training in human genetics and genomics for physicians following completion of residency training, and for Ph.D.'s in the basic sciences who seek a broader and translational appreciation of human genetics and genome sciences. Training focuses on highly collaborative mentor-based, research laboratory experience and is complemented with courses, seminars, clinical conferences, a journal club, and participation in national meetings. As they progress, trainees are encouraged to seek individual fellowship awards. The Program emphasizes recruitment of underrepresented minority fellows and disabled individuals as well as ongoing instruction in the responsible conduct of research. The fifty-two participating faculty are primarily drawn from the two Medical Genetics units in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, but also consist of productive and talented mentors performing relevant research and teaching in other departments. Although most of our trainees are physicians who seek clinical and research training in medical genetics, we have also attracted and trained physicians from other specialties (Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Surgery) and Ph.D. scientists. We have also launched a training track in the Department of Medicine for Internal Medicine-Medical Genetics, and have agreement from the leadership of the Department of Pediatrics to apply for a combined 4-year Pediatrics-Medical Genetics residency (see letter of support in the Appendix). With these promising new sources of trainees, and the increasing integration of genetics into all medical specialties, we are requesting an increase from four to six funded positions per year, which will allow us to support three (rather than two) trainees for two years each. The Program continues in its successful mission of launching independent, research-focused careers in medical genetics and genomics.
Medical genetics is a specialty that spans clinical medicine and biomedical, translational research. It focuses on understanding the underlying genetic differences that cause human disability and diseases across the life span, and translating that knowledge into clinical testing and new treatments to improve human health. This program supports the training of the next generation of academic physicians and scientists in medical genetics and genomics.
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