It is with great sadness that we write to inform you that Rachel Gannaway passed away on Sunday, April 11, 2021. As many of you know, she was fiercely battling cancer over the last few years. She was surrounded by family and loved ones.
Rachel obtained her MS in Genetic Counseling through the University of Pittsburgh program in 1989. At that time, there were fewer than 500 certified genetic counselors. She established herself as a prenatal genetic counselor and served as the Prenatal Diagnosis Program Coordinator at University of North Carolina before starting at VCU in 2005. She was named program director of the VCU MS in Genetic Counseling Program in 2006. Under her leadership, the program doubled in size, growing from 10-12 students to more than 20. She was instrumental in starting the PhD in Human Genetics/MS in Genetic Counseling Dual Degree Program, the only program of its kind in the US. She successfully lobbied for a diversity scholarship for under-represented students in the field of genetic counseling. Over the space of her career, she mentored hundreds of students, both in genetic counseling and in other medical specialties.
Rachel also helped with growing Clinical Genetics services at VCU Health. Under her leadership, the number of full-time genetic counselors doubled from when she first started in 2005. During her tenure, genetic counselors expanded services into multiple specialties, both within VCU and within the surrounding community. Rachel was tireless in her efforts to gain recognition for the role of genetic counselors in healthcare, staying active in the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the Virginia Association of Genetic Counselors.
Rachel will be deeply missed professionally and personally. Please consider honoring Rachel by donating to the American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate/memorial-giving.html.
Established in 1990, the VCU Genetic Counseling program has prepared over 130 graduates to work in all areas of Genetic counseling. Our graduates hold leadership positions in the NSGC and the ABGC and are well prepared to enter the fast paced and constantly changing world of the field of Genetics.
Our program is a full time, on campus program spanning 21 months. Students take 60 total credits of didactic, clinical, and research activity. Upon graduation, graduates are eligible for board certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and are well prepared to enter the job market. Of the most recent graduating classes (2018-2021):
What sets us apart? At VCU you will start your clinical experience in the first semester and formal clinical rotations in the spring semester of the first year, continuing through both semesters of the second year. Our students also engage in clinical experiences during the intervening summer as well with opportunities for on campus and off campus rotations.
Please follow the links to the right for additional information or to view a full description of the program here>> M.S. in Genetic Counseling graduate program.