Crises in medical settings disrupt coping skills and can lead to depression and even suicide. Genetic counselors, healthcare providers who communicate genetic risk information and provide support, may encounter patients in crisis. The Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) requires crisis intervention training (CIT) in genetic counseling training programs. However, many programs lack a dedicated CIT curriculum, and content for this training is not specified by guidelines. This study surveyed practicing genetic counselors to inform curricula for CIT in training programs. Over 88% of respondents agreed with the ACGC and supported the addition of dedicated CIT (79% had not received this as part of their training). The most desired format was an in-person class or included in clinical rotations, and the preferred content included how to recognize individuals in crisis or at suicide risk, how to calm or diffuse a patient in crisis, how to develop a suicide safety plan, and how to navigate the referral network within an institution. The majority of participants felt genetic counseling patients were not being adequately referred for mental health counseling. The reported use of CIT skills varied by discipline, with prenatal and laboratory counselors reporting the most frequent use of these skills. These findings may impact program curricula and counseling referrals.

The UAB genetic counselling program is designed to lead to professional certification through the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc (ABGC). While there is a national certification exam offered by ABGC, board certification does not confer state licensure. Specific licensure requirements vary from state to state. UAB is working to develop an online, publicly-accessible database to assist in providing this state-by-state information. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning about potential professional licensure requirements in your state for a specific degree program, please contact UAB State Authorization at, or call eLearning and Professional Learning S staff at (205) 934-3258.