Clinical Genetics

Dickson_doctoring600pi.jpgThe UCLA Intercampus Medical Genetics Training Program provides training for individuals pursuing Board certification in clinical genetics at its three main campuses: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA Center for Health Sciences and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The clinical training components of the program are developed and implemented by the Program's Executive Committee. Genetics residents/fellows do clinical rotations at each campus. Integration of all trainees occurs weekly at the postgraduate level Medical Genetics Course, held on the UCLA campus, as well as at other Intercampus meetings during the year.

 

American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG) Requirements for Clinical Genetics:

A clinical geneticist is an individual who holds an MD or DO degree, has had two years in an ACGME-accredited clinical residency program in another medical specialty and two years in an ACGME-accredited residency in clinical genetics (or four years in an accredited four-year clinical genetics residency program), has a valid medical license, and has demonstrated competence to provide comprehensive genetic diagnostic, management, therapeutic, and counseling services.

ABMGG requirements imply that the individual possess:

  • broad knowledge in human and medical genetics, including an understanding of the heterogeneity, variability, and natural history of genetic disorders;
  • diagnostic and therapeutic skills in a wide range of genetic disorders;
  • the ability to elicit and interpret individual and family histories;
  • the ability to integrate clinical and genetic information and to understand the uses, limitations, interpretation, and significance of specialized laboratory and clinical procedures;
  • the expertise in genetic and mathematical principles to perform risk assessment;
  • the skills in interviewing and counseling techniques required to:
    • Elicit from the patient or family the information necessary to reach an appropriate conclusion;
    • Anticipate areas of difficulty and conflict;
    • Help families and individuals recognize and cope with their emotional and psychological needs;
    • Recognize situations requiring psychiatric referral; and
    • Transmit pertinent information in a way that is comprehensible to the individual or family; and
    • Knowledge of available health care resources (community, regional, and national) required for appropriate referral or support.

The Intercampus Clinical Training Program is two years in duration with an optional third year. The genetics residents/fellows receive extensive hands-on experience in clinical genetics, didactic information about the specialty of medical genetics, as well as skills in conducting clinical and/or laboratory-based research, writing manuscripts and research grants, and organizing and delivering lectures and seminars to a wide variety of groups.

Trainees spend a variable amount of time doing clinical work, depending on the track they have elected to pursue; e.g., research and clinical or primarily clinical training. At a minimum, they will be expected to attend two half-days of clinical activity during year one and one full clinic per week in year two. Additional time must be spent doing consults and gaining experience in prenatal diagnosis, genetic screening, genetic counseling, and teratology counseling. Trainees also spend time obtaining experience in the cytogenetics, biochemical, and molecular genetics laboratories. They are expected to attend all research and clinical seminars at their base hospital. The mix of clinical cases, conferences, and lectures is intended to provide comprehensive training in medical genetics, dysmorphology, teratology, and prenatal diagnosis, molecular diagnosis, and biochemical genetics. Specialized clinics including craniofacial, skeletal dysplasia, metabolic disorders, and neurological disorders such as tuberous sclerosis, neuro-fibromatosis, Huntington disease and muscular disorders are also available as part of the training program.

Each campus offers a unique patient population and faculty that greatly broadens the residents educational experience.

Cedars-Sinai has a comprehensive Skeletal Dysplasia clinic, the adult Gen-Risk program, cancer cytogenetics and fetal dysmorphology.

Harbor-UCLA has a large indigent and minority population offering excellent cross-sections of genetic diseases, including older adolescents and adults with undiagnosed genetic conditions, and a rich array of patients from a variety of socio-economic, religious and/or cultural backgrounds with disorders unique to specific ethnic groups.

UCLA has a large molecular genetics clinic that treats patients with specific genetic disorders not seen elsewhere, as well as a large adult neurology population and a unique metabolic clinic.

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • UCLA Medical Center Program 
  • Identifier: 130-05-21-010 
  • Specialty: Medical Genetics 

Applications for Medical Genetics are only accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) Fellowship. Fellowship applicants contact the ERAS Fellowships Documents Office (EFDO) for tokens. Trainees are selected through the National Residents Matching Program. Application for an NRMP code must be made through the NRMP.

Applications:

All ERAS applications should include the following:

  • Your CV
  • A personal statement.
  • Transcript of medical school records
  • A letter from your Program Director, or their Designee, in your support.
  • Two letters of recommendation from medical sponsors in support of your application
  • Copy of USMLE Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 results, if available. Please be advised that we require a passing score in the USMLE Step 2 examination prior to the NRMP (National Resident Matching Program) match deadline since this is a requirement for starting residency.
  • A recent photo is helpful.

International graduates are required to include:

  • A copy of a credentials review letter from the ABMGG.

NOTE: All foreign graduates must have attended an ACGME accredited United States primary residency program for a minimum of two years prior to applying to our program.

  • A copy of their current ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certificate

International and US graduates are required to have prior to starting:

  • Applicant Status Letter from the Medical Board of California (IMG only); or,
  • A California Medical License

Timeline (Approximate):

  • July 1:  ERAS website opens for applicants to being working on their applications. Applicants may only apply to the July application cycle.
  • July 15:  The ERAS post office opens for downloading of applications by the program.  The program will contact any applicants with incomplete ERAS applications requesting required information.  The Clinical Faculty members of the Program’s Executive Committee will review all complete applications.
  • August 1 – October 15 Review of applications by the Selection Committee will begin after August1st and an applicant's interview status will be sent via email. The Selection Committee is composed of the clinical faculty of the program’s Executive Committee and the program’s Chief Resident. Invitations to interview will be offered to candidates starting in mid-August. All complete applications that are submitted by our deadline in October will be considered.

Candidates selected for interviews may spend up to an entire day and visit one or more campus. Candidates will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and residents. Interviews will be scheduled on selected Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays August through October. (Interview days subject to change.)