Genetics education: Improving non-genetics health professionals' understanding of genetic testing Genetics education
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
New genetics information and technologies are expanding rapidly. The rate of increase of health professional trained in genetics and genetic counseling has not kept pace with the rate of increase of genetic discovery and demand for genetic tests and services. As genetic testing moves into the main stream of health care these tests will be increasingly administered by physicians with no training in genetics. There is growing concern that physicians outside genetics cannot interpret genetic tests adequately to patients and are often not in compliance with ethical and clinical guidelines especially regarding informed consent and indications for testing. In 1996 and 1999 the partners of this research project successfully completed 2 studies on the provision of genetic services in Europe (funded by Biomed). Based upon data from these studies this research project aims to launch a European collaborative education initiative between genetics specialists, patient support groups and professional associations of non-genetics health professionals. The first step towards this goal will be the identification of priority needs for education based upon empirical evidence. An extensive survey will be conducted among non-genetics health professionals.