Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles described below are intended to inform ongoing and future efforts to advance justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) within the University of Michigan Genetic Counseling Program (UMGCP). These guiding principles were informed by input solicited from current students, alumni, clinical supervisors, and classroom instructors during the fall 2022 semester. That input was then considered and consolidated through multiple, iterative discussions within the UMGCP JEDI Guiding Principles Task Force.

Within the guiding principles, the University of Michigan Genetic Counseling Program (UMGCP) community refers to program leadership, students, clinical supervisors, classroom instructors, research mentors, support staff, and alumni (when serving in a role that supports the UMGCP). All individuals who are part of the UMGCP community are expected to support these principles. Furthermore, UMGCP Leadership has a particular responsibility to understand challenges embedded within the program and to incorporate these guiding principles in all facets of the UMGCP including the curriculum, clinical environment, research, and community. The UMGCP Leadership commits to being honest, transparent, and trustworthy in its communication and efforts.

These guiding principles are not intended to represent a plan or set of activities, but will help inform what comes next, including defining priorities and an action plan. We anticipate that these principles will evolve over time and are committed to listening, learning, and growing as we plan forward and consider the full scope of what justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion look like within the UMGCP.



1)     Diversity is essential to the genetic counseling learning community and profession

  • The UMGCP embraces its role and responsibility in working to diversify the profession of genetic counseling.
  • Diversity exists across innumerable dimensions including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, citizenship, religion, age, (dis)ability status, and political perspective.
  • A breadth of interests, experiences, and perspectives among all members of our community is valued and optimizes learning, skill development, and growth.

2)     Inclusion is critical to the training environment

  • The UMGCP believes an inclusive, respectful environment enriches the learning experience by fostering an ability for diverse perspectives to be shared.
  • An inclusive environment is one in which unique goals and perspectives are celebrated.
  • Community members will foster an environment where every person feels a sense of belonging such that they feel invited and safe to bring their whole self. 

3)     Equity is fundamental for all students to have the opportunity to thrive

  • We recognize that students enter the UMGCP with unique backgrounds, needs, and experiences that influence all areas of their student experience.
  • The UMGCP strives to provide students with access to appropriate resources through both universal design for learning* and individualized accommodations.
  • We value mentorship and advocacy among our community as a means towards equity.
  • The UMGCP recognizes that any student may face unexpected or intermittent challenges during their graduate studies and is committed to working with all students to seek appropriate support and resources.

4)     Accountability is vital to cultivating progress

  • All members of the UMGCP community have a responsibility to actively engage in personal development in regard to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognize that growth looks different for different people.
  • We all have a role in moving these principles forward, recognizing that those in positions of power and/or privilege have a heightened responsibility.
  • We focus on the impact of our actions and recognize this supersedes intent. We strive to accept responsibility and learn from our errors.
  • Mistakes are to be anticipated. We endeavor to give grace to ourselves and others.
  • We seek and value feedback as a means to enable positive change

*Universal design for learning refers to designing education so that it is usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.  “UDL aims to change the design of the environment rather than to change the learner. When environments are intentionally designed to reduce barriers, all learners can engage in rigorous, meaningful learning.” https://udlguidelines.cast.org/more/frequently-asked-questions