Q:Do students have an active role in a clinical setting during their first year?
A:No. The primary goal of the first year in our training program is to provide students with a solid foundation of genetic knowledge and set of counseling skills before they officially embark on their clinical training. Students do observe genetic counselors during their first year and will frequently take shadow pedigrees while the genetic counselor is gathering family history information from the patients. There are also many active learning opportunities including case discussions, mock sessions, role plays as well as a set of internship prep activities during the first year which provide students the chance to practice their skills in a safe environment before participating in actual patient encounters.

Q:Do I need a car for my internships?.
A:No. Students do not need a car to do their internships and those who do not have a car will typically be placed at sites that are accessible by public transportation. There are occasions however, when a student without a car has an internship that cannot easily be reached by public transportation. In these cases, the program will provide students with additional financial assistance for transportation to and from that internship site.

Q:Will I have to travel for any of my internships?
A:Maybe. Students who have a car will, on average, have one internship that is not in Boston or its suburbs although this is highly dependent on what internship sites are able to take students during each semester.  Those sites that require travel are typically in Worcester, MA, Providence, Rhode Island, or southern New Hampshire and are not more than an hour away. (See a list of most commonly used sites)

Q: Can I do my summer internship at home or somewhere besides Boston?
A:Yes.  We encourage students to consider doing their first clinical internship over the summer outside of Boston, as this gives our local sites a well-deserved break.  For students who would like to do their internship elsewhere, the Program Faculty will work with them to identify a site willing and able to take a Brandeis student over the summer. We have alumni throughout the United States and Canada who we are always happy to approach about taking a student. The Program Faculty will also provide external sites who host our students with internship guidelines and paperwork to ensure that students have a productive first clinical experience.

Q: Do students at Brandeis get an adequate number of core cases?
A: Yes. While the numbers can vary depending on the different sites a particular student is assigned to, our students average over 100 patient encounters that can count towards the required 50 core cases. Students generally have at least 20 core cases for each practice area and often well over 50 from their long internship.  These numbers are in addition to any cases in which students observed or had a minor role in patient care.

Q:Will I have exposure to Specialty Clinics during my clinical training?
A:Maybe.  A number of our clinical internships allow students to participate in clinics that specialize in diseases such as Neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome or Williams syndrome. We expect students to take advantage of every learning experience at their internship sites to provide them with the most well-rounded clinical training.  In addition, there are a number of specialty clinics that may take students for a 7-week internship.

Q:Will I have a say in where I do my internships?
A: Yes.  The Program Faculty surveys the students early in their first semester to gather information about their preferences for their summer placement, thoughts on sites during the academic year and their other clinical and non-clinical interests. She then takes this information into account when matching students to internship sites and works to accommodate student preferences to the best of her ability.

Q:Do I find out my entire schedule of internships before beginning my first one?
A: No.  Assigning internships requires some flexibility if site availability or the needs of a particular student changes. Students will typically find out their internship site(s) for each semester 4-6 weeks before the target start date, giving them ample time to do everything required by the institution where they will be seeing patients.

Q:Are the internships graded?
A:No. Students do not receive a letter grade for their internships. Those who have successfully completed an internship and received a written evaluation from their primary supervisor stating this, will receive “credit” and have a “CR” on their official transcript.