Clinical Medical Genetics is a specialty in which physicians evaluate and treat individuals of all ages with known or suspected genetic disorders, or who are at risk, because of family history, to develop such a condition. The Residency Program in Clinical Genetics at the University of Washington is a two-year program which includes both clinical training and research, with a strongly encouraged third year devoted to research. A prerequisite for admission is completion of one or more years of clinical training in an ACGME certified residency. The mission of the University of Washington Residency is to train the next generation of academic medical geneticists.
Residents are required to learn about all aspects of general clinical genetics, including prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, and adult genetics, as well as metabolic diseases, and laboratory methods used in cytogenetics, biochemical genetics and molecular genetics. Most trainees complete the clinical training component of the program in 2 years but stay for a total of 3-4 years to attain competency in an area of research that will allow them to compete for research funding and for academic positions in the U.S.
Additionally, residents are expected to be competent in all six of the ACGME core competencies, including the professional, communication and quality domains. In addition to the Core Competencies, residents are expected to show accountability, knowledge of medical ethics, and an interest in lifelong learning. The residency is designed to provide a high level of clinical competence in all areas of medical genetics, and which upon completion, will permit graduates to sit for the board examination in Clinical Medical Genetics administered by the ABMG. With rare exception, UW trainees in Clinical Medical Genetics have passed the Board examination on their first attempt.
The Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Medicine was founded by Dr. Arno Motulsky in 1957. Training in Medical Genetics began in the early 1960s and since that time, the program has trained more than 100 clinical geneticists, many of whom have become leaders in clinical genetics and research and created or led some of the outstanding academic programs in the US and abroad. This priority on creation of the next generation of academic human and medical geneticists continues to this day and drives the selection criteria for the training programs.
The Medical Genetics program that began in the Department of Medicine was the home in which the new programs incubated. Pediatric genetics moved to the Children's Hospital in the 1970s, prenatal genetics thrived in Obstetrics at the University Hospital Medical Center, and cytogenetics was moved to Pathology. Biochemical genetics developed in parallel to pediatric genetics and molecular genetics developed within Medical Genetics with applications developed in Laboratory Medicine. Pediatric Genetics, with support through state programs in Alaska and Washington developed a network of outreach clinics.