After the release of the complete version of the human genome in 2003, the field of medical genetics experienced a revolution in the speed of discoveries which positively affected human health. The clinical and genomic breakthrough of the medical genetics field has aided the translation and integration of genomics into health care and the introduction of personalized medicine improving level of service offered to patients.
The high incidence of various genetic disorders in KSA and in the Arab world, the implementation of national programs of new born and premarital screening have significantly increased the demand for properly trained Genetic Counselors to work with patients and their families. Genetic counseling training programs have been around in North America since the late sixties. These training programs have proven to be highly successful in graduating well trained genetic counselors, where currently there are thousands of them practicing worldwide.
The Department of Medical Genetics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in affiliation with Alfaisal University in Riyadh have recognized the importance of such an essential specialty and are committed to establish the first Master's training program in genetic counseling located at Alfaisal University. The goal of this program is to meet the current and future demand of healthcare system for highly qualified, competent and culturally sensitive genetic counselors in Saudi Arabia and in the region.