Ochsner Health and historically Black Xavier University of Louisiana have announced the commitment to develop two new graduate degree programs in genetic counseling and health informatics. Genetic counselors advise individuals and families affected by or at risk for genetic disorders and support them in making informed healthcare decisions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for genetic counselors is projected to increase 21 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average of other occupations. Recent studies reveal only 2 percent of genetic counselors currently identify as Black or African American.
Health informatics professionals identify, capture, organize and interpret health data to develop effective healthcare processes and solutions, subsequently improving the delivery of healthcare services.
Genetic counseling and health informatics programs will be offered to students through classroom instruction at Xavier and clinical rotations at Ochsner Health facilities. Xavier will be the first university in Louisiana to offer a genetic counseling training program and the only such program based at a historically Black college or university.
“The development of these programs reflects Xavier honoring our mission to strive for a more just and humane society through education,” said Anne McCall, provost, and senior vice president for academic affairs, at Xavier University. “Instead of focusing simply on treatment in health and medicine, we are prioritizing healthcare and research in preventive medicine. Xavier has been a leader in serving and overcoming health disparities for almost a century and we, as leaders in education, science, and health, are proud to work with Ochsner to develop these programs.”