Miller School Launches Genomic Medicine Master’s Program

(August 29, 2012) — First-year medical students at the Miller School of Medicine now have the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Genomic Medicine along with their medical degree, a program unique to the University of Miami.

“This is the first program of its kind in the country,” said William K. Scott, vice chair of education in the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics. Scott will direct the program, which will be coordinated by Kayla Czape, a genetic counselor.

Initial support for the program was provided by a $100,000 gift from the John T. and Winifred Hayward Foundation of Clearwater, Florida.

“Over the past few years, the importance of genetics in medicine has grown immensely,” said Jeffery Vance, director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. “But the vast majority of physicians have not had training in modern genetic theories and techniques, making it difficult for them to incorporate it into their practice. This is especially true for genomic medicine or personalized medicine, which will be common by the time current medical students begin practicing. This program is the first to address this gap in medical education, preparing the next generation of physicians to be ‘genomic medicine literate.’ ”

The four-year M.D./M.S. degree is designed to equip future physicians with the tools to integrate the ever-expanding field of genomics into their practices. In collaboration with the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, students will be trained to use detailed family genetic histories, diagnostic genomic tests, high throughput sequencing, and pharmacogenomics in routine clinical care.

Successful applicants, who must be first-year medical students, will begin the first block of the master’s courses in their second academic semester. Applications are due by November 1 each year.

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Research associate Angela Dajnoki checks a tandem mass spectrometer at the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, where students can now pursue a master's in genomic medicine.

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