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Genet Med. 2011 Sep;13(9):832-40. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e31821882b7.

Personalized cancer genetics training for personalized medicine: improving community-based healthcare through a genetically literate workforce.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California 91010, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To assess the impact of a multimodal interdisciplinary course on genetic cancer risk assessment and research collaboration for community-based clinicians. Clinicians are increasingly requested to conduct genetic cancer risk assessment, but many are inadequately prepared to provide these services.

METHODS:

A prospective analysis of 131 participants (48 physicians, 41 advanced-practice nurses, and 42 genetic counselors) from community settings across the United States. The course was delivered in three phases: distance didactic learning, face-to-face training, and 12 months of web-based professional development activities to support integration of skills into practice. Cancer genetics knowledge, skills, professional self-efficacy, and practice changes were measured at baseline, immediate, and 14 months postcourse.

RESULTS:

Knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy scores were significantly different between practice disciplines; however, postscores increased significantly overall and for each discipline (P < 0.001). Fourteen-month practice outcomes reflect significant increases in provision of genetic cancer risk assessment services (P = 0.018), dissemination of cancer prevention information (P = 0.005) and high-risk screening recommendations (P = 0.004) to patients, patient enrollment in research (P = 0.013), and educational outreach about genetic cancer risk assessment (P = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS:

Results support the efficacy of the multimodal course as a tool to develop a genetically literate workforce. Sustained alumni participation in web-based professional development activities has evolved into a distance-mediated community of practice in clinical cancer genetics, modeling the lifelong learning goals envisioned by leading continuing medical education stakeholders.

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