Core Competencies in Public Health Genetics

The core competencies for each of the degree programs offered by the IPHG are described below. All of our programs are unique in that they include an interdisciplinary component and draw on the many outstanding Schools, Departments and programs at the University of Washington, while maintaining a public health focus.

M.S. in Genetic Epidemiology

The Master of Science degree offers advanced training in Genetic Epidemiology with an emphasis on applied research skills to understand the etiology and prevention of complex diseases with genetic and environmental components. Completion of this degree prepares graduates for careers in academic institutions, health care delivery systems, public health departments, governmental agencies, and the private sector, particularly biotechnology. The core curriculum develops competencies in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, biostatistics, and bioinformatics within the broader context of ethical, legal and social issues. The degree requires coursework in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, law, and bioethics. Upon completion, graduates will have been introduced to the research principles and methods that will enable them to design, conduct, analyze, and interpret genetic epidemiologic research. Successful completion requires a research-based master's thesis.

Upon satisfactory completion of the MS in Genetic Epidemiology, graduates will be able to:

* Meet the generic SPH learning objectives for the MS degree (see Criterion 2.6.a);

* Apply knowledge of inheritance to understanding the etiology of a variety of diseases and health conditions;

* Describe the major genetic epidemiologic research study designs and their advantages and limitations and apply epidemiological and statistical approaches to the study of risk factors and diseases with a genetic component;

* Design, conduct and analysis of genetic epidemiologic studies and interpretation of findings, including integration of findings from other genetic epidemiologic studies;

* Describe the importance of evaluating interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors, and their roles in health and disease;

* Critically read and evaluate quantitative research findings contained in, genetics, medical and public health journals;

* Write a research proposal including rationale for a specific genetic epidemiologic investigation, including a clear description of methods, and strengths and limitations of the proposed study;

* Demonstrate proficiency in conducting statistical analysis of genetic epidemiologic data;

* Describe the legal, ethical and social issues that may be associated with the collection and application of genetic and genomic information;

* Describe the latest technologies and genomic advances used to investigate the role of genes in disease and normal variation of traits; and

* Communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, with colleagues within genetic epidemiology and from other disciplines.

MPH in Public Health Genetics

The MPH degree provides broad interdisciplinary training in public health genetics and prepares graduates for careers in public health practice, governmental agencies, academic institutions, health care delivery systems and the private sector. The core curriculum develops competencies in genetic epidemiology, pharmacogenetics, and toxicogenomics, within the broader context of law, ethics, culture, and policy. The degree requires coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics, genetic epidemiology, health services, environmental health, law, and bioethics. Successful completion of the MPH requires a practicum, and a research-based master's thesis.

Upon satisfactory completion of the MPH in Public Health Genetics, graduates will be able to:

* Meet the generic SPH learning objectives for the MPH degree (see Criterion 2.6.a);

* Meet the Core-Specific Learning Objectives for all MPH students (see Criterion 2.6.a);

Competency in "Genomics in Public Health" (Core Knowledge Area A):

* Apply knowledge of inheritance and genomic advances, including cellular and molecular mechanisms and technical developments, to understanding the etiology of a variety of rare and common, complex diseases and health conditions;

* Apply epidemiological and statistical approaches to the study of risk factors and diseases with a genetic component;

* Identify interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors, and their roles in health and disease;

* Describe how genetic principles and genomic technologies apply to diagnosis, screening, and interventions for disease prevention and health promotion programs;

Competency in "Implications of Genetics for Society" (Core Knowledge Area B):

* Identify the impact of genomics on the public health activities of assessment, policy development and assurance;

* Apply methods to address ethical implications of the use of genetic information and technologies in public health;

* Describe legal concepts and the role of the law in the development of policies relating to genetics and genomics; and identify legal implications of the application of genetics and genomic technologies in public health;

* Apply knowledge of key social science concepts in analysis of the political, social and cultural forces that influence the research and clinical application of genetics and genomic technology in public health;

* Analyze the interaction and impact of market forces and public policy on the development and delivery of genetic services.

Ph.D. in Public Health Genetics

The doctoral program in Public Health Genetics offers interdisciplinary training for careers in academic institutions, health care delivery systems, public health departments, government agencies, and the private sector. Training takes place through a combination of didactic courses, seminars, and research participation. The interdisciplinary nature of the program prepares graduates to address scientific and policy questions from multiple perspectives. The PhD program involves fundamental areas of study in human genetics and public health along with core knowledge areas of Genomics in Public Health and Implications of Genetics for Society. Students first undertake coursework and a preliminary examination covering the fundamental areas of study and the core knowledge areas. Then, students develop their dissertation project, an original research endeavor focused on one primary and another secondary core knowledge area. A general and a final examination are required to complete the degree.

Upon satisfactory completion of a PhD in Public Health Genetics, graduates will be able to:

* Meet the generic SPH learning objectives for the MS degree (see Criterion 2.6.a);

* Meet the generic SPH learning objectives for the PhD degree (see Criterion 2.6.a);

* Demonstrate advanced knowledge in one of these core knowledge areas through coursework and dissertation project research;

* Demonstrate effective integration of the two core knowledge areas while conducting independent, interdisciplinary research in public health genetics;

* Demonstrate the ability to identify resources needed to stay current with the rapid advances in genomics, public health genetics, and clinical genetics, and their application in public health settings; and

* Communicate effectively about public health genetics to audiences from diverse backgrounds, including writing at a professional level and giving oral presentations.

Display competency in "Genomics in Public Health" (Core Knowledge Area A):

* Apply knowledge of inheritance and genomic advances, including cellular and molecular mechanisms and technical developments, to understanding the etiology of a variety of rare and common, complex diseases and health conditions;

* Apply epidemiological and statistical approaches to the study of risk factors and diseases with a genetic component;

* Identify interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors, and their roles in health and disease; and

* Discuss how genetic principles and genomic technologies apply to diagnosis, screening, and interventions for disease prevention and health promotion programs.

Display competency in "Implications of Genetics for Society" (Core Knowledge Area B):

* Identify the impact of genomics on the public health activities of assessment, policy development and assurance;

* Apply methods to address ethical implications of the use of genetic information and technologies in public health;

* Discuss legal concepts and the role of the law in the development of policies relating to genetics and genomics; and identify legal implications of the application of genetics and genomic technologies in public health;

* Apply knowledge of key social science concepts in analysis of the political, social and cultural forces that influence the research and clinical application of genetics and genomic technology in public health; and

* Analyze the interaction and impact of market forces and public policy on the development and delivery of genetic services.