Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Genetic counseling, Family life education, Social case work



Physical Description

1 online resource (40 Pages)


The purpose of this practicum is to demonstrate the need for social workers to be employed by Genetics Clinics as a member of the genetics team, the hypothesis being that there is need for social work involvement in the field of medical genetics. Research was completed through a survey of the literature in the field of: counseling problems in genetic counseling, social work involvement in genetics clinics, the role of nursing in genetic counseling, and psychological studies concerning problems of genetic counseling. Literature in these areas was extremely limited During the summer of 1971, a questionnaire was sent to ninety genetic clinics, requesting information on the role that social work played in these clinics.

Interviews were held with Dr. Everett Lovrien, co-director of the University of Oregon Medical School Genetics Clinic, Dr. Robert Koler, director of Genetic Research. University at Oregon Medical School, Mrs. Sue Underwood, Public Health Nurse with the Genetics Clinic, and Dr. Amelia Schultz, research instructor and medical social worker for the Clinical Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. regarding their opinions concerning the role that social work should play in genetic counseling. This paper will incorporate a brief history of genetics and the establishment of genetic counseling clinics, the goals and purposes of a team approach to medical service, a summary of the findings of the questionnaire, and a discussion of the areas where social work could incorporate its own skills and areas of expertise in the clinic into the three major areas of patient care, research, and teaching.


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A practicum submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work, Portland State University.

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