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Genet Med. 2015 Feb;17(2):158-63. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.84. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Horizontal integration of OMIM across the medical school preclinical curriculum for early reinforcement of clinical genetics principles.

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Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



With the relentless expansion of genetics into every field of medicine, stronger preclinical and clinical medical student education in genetics is needed. The explosion of genetic information cannot be addressed by simply adding content hours. We proposed that students be provided a tool to access accurate clinical information on genetic conditions and, through this tool, build life-long learning habits to carry them through their medical careers.


Surveys conducted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that medical students in all years lacked confidence when approaching genetic conditions and lacked a reliable resource for accurate genetic information. In response, the school created a horizontal thread that stretches across the first-year curriculum and is devoted to teaching students how to use Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) ( and the databases to which it links as a starting point for approaching genetic conditions.


The thread improved the first-year students' confidence in clinical genetics concepts and encouraged use of OMIM as a primary source for genetic information. Most students showed confidence in OMIM as a learning tool and wanted to see the thread repeated in subsequent years.


Incorporating OMIM into the preclinical curriculum improved students' confidence in clinical genetics concepts.

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