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School of Medicine Columbia

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Community Engagement

Your student experience doesn’t all happen in the classroom or clinic. You also will participate in service learning activities designed to offer real life exposure to individuals and families touched by genetics.

Beyond the Classroom: Service Learning

Genetic counselors are health professionals who serve their communities. We value student involvement in community outreach and integrate these experiences throughout your curriculum. Service learning develops understanding for individuals with disabilities and genetic conditions as we also foster meaningful interaction between genetic counselors and the people we serve.  

Through collaboration with Family Connection and other community organizations, you will have the opportunity to interact with children and adults living with a genetic condition. We’ll expose you to non-profit groups supporting families, you’ll have the chance to attend awareness events and you’ll also improve your written communication with educational blogs that build public understanding of genetics.

As part of our Diversity Recruitment Initiative, you’ll also outreach to South Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other institutions of higher education. We hope to stimulate prospective students from diverse colleges and universities to consider this wonderful career. 

Community Engagement allows us to teach others about genetics and genetic counseling and connects genetic counselors to the people we serve.

Here are a few of the organizations our students support:

Huntington's Disease Society of America - SC Affiliate

Project Hope Foundation

South Carolina Advocates for Epilepsy (SAFE)

Leo's Pride

South Carolina Rare Action Network

The Genetic Counseling Community Engagement Award

Debbie Zvejnieks

Debbie Zvejnieks, MS, CGC

The Zvejnieks Foundation of SC

An endowed grant from the Zvejnieks Foundation of South Carolina supports leadership development among senior genetic counseling students.  Annually, two seniors are selected to be our Community Engagement Coordinators and serve to connect students and faculty as we raise awareness for genetic counseling. Our Community Engagement Coordinators focus on Columbia area non-profit organizations that support individuals and families with genetic conditions, outreach education to South Carolina colleges and universities, and to a wider audience through social media outreach. The USC Genetic Counseling Program has always been committed to service learning and person to person engagement, and we are grateful to the Zvejnieks Foundation for creating this leadership and professional development opportunity.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.