The current status of medical genetics instruction in U.S. and Canadian medical schools

Virginia Carol Thurston, Paula Sue Wales, Mary Alice Bell, Laura Torbeck, James Joseph Brokaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE: Relatively little is known about how medical genetics is being taught in the undergraduate medical curriculum and whether educators concur regarding topical priority. This study sought to document the current state of medical genetics education in U.S. and Canadian accredited medical schools. METHOD: In August 2004, surveys were sent from the Indiana University School of Medicine to 149 U.S. and Canadian medical genetics course directors or curricular deans. Returned surveys were collected through June 2005. Participants were asked about material covered, number of contact hours, year in which the course was offered, and what department sponsored the course. Data were collated according to instructional method and course content. RESULTS: The response rate was 75.2%. Most respondents (77%) taught medical genetics in the first year of medical school; only half (47%) reported that medical genetics was incorporated into the third and fourth years. About two thirds of respondents (62%) devoted 20 to 40 hours to medical genetics instruction, which was largely concerned with general concepts (86%) rather than practical application (11%). Forty-six percent of respondents reported teaching a stand-alone course versus 54% who integrated medical genetics into another course. Topics most commonly taught were cancer genetics (94.2%), multifactorial inheritance (91.3%), Mendelian disorders (90.3%), clinical cytogenetics (89.3%), and patterns of inheritance (87.4%). CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide important baseline data relative to guidelines recently established by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Ultimately, improved genetics curricula will help train physicians who are knowledgeable and comfortable discussing and answering questions about genetics with their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume82
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Fingerprint

Medical Genetics
Medical Schools
instruction
school
Curriculum
Multifactorial Inheritance
Inheritance Patterns
American Medical Association
Medical Education
Cytogenetics
curriculum
Teaching
Medicine
Surveys and Questionnaires
Guidelines
Physicians
director
cancer
physician
medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education

Cite this

Thurston, V. C., Wales, P. S., Bell, M. A., Torbeck, L., & Brokaw, J. J. (2007). The current status of medical genetics instruction in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Academic Medicine, 82(5), 441-445. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31803e86c5

The current status of medical genetics instruction in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. / Thurston, Virginia Carol; Wales, Paula Sue; Bell, Mary Alice; Torbeck, Laura; Brokaw, James Joseph.

In: Academic Medicine, Vol. 82, No. 5, 05.2007, p. 441-445.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thurston, VC, Wales, PS, Bell, MA, Torbeck, L & Brokaw, JJ 2007, 'The current status of medical genetics instruction in U.S. and Canadian medical schools', Academic Medicine, vol. 82, no. 5, pp. 441-445. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31803e86c5
Thurston, Virginia Carol ; Wales, Paula Sue ; Bell, Mary Alice ; Torbeck, Laura ; Brokaw, James Joseph. / The current status of medical genetics instruction in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. In: Academic Medicine. 2007 ; Vol. 82, No. 5. pp. 441-445.
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