A "neglected part of the curriculum" or "of limited use"? Views on genetics training by nongenetics medical trainees and implications for delivery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Purpose: Although the importance of genetics education for health care professionals is increasingly recognized worldwide, little is known about the needs and views of nongenetics postgraduate medical trainees. Methods: Data on the views of 143 learners from four specialties (family practice, neurology, cardiology, and dermatology) in two regions in England (West Midlands and South Western) were collected using focus groups, questionnaires, and interviews. Results: Low levels of genetics training were reported by both trainee family practitioners and trainee hospital consultant specialists. Responses to attitude statements indicate that the majority of trainee family practitioners believed genetics was important but thought that they were underprepared in this area. Focus groups with specialty trainees revealed general consensus that there was not enough formal postgraduate genetics training, although some cardiologists disagreed and trainees in all three specialties thought that the existing curriculum was overcrowded. Trainees stressed the importance of tailoring genetics education to be directly relevant to their daily practice. Trainee family practitioners prioritized topics related to the identification and referral of patients, and the subsequent implication of results. In contrast, specialty trainees prioritized topics related to the genetics and management of particular diseases. Conclusion: There is still work to be done before trainees in nongenetics specialties recognize how genetics can be relevant to their practice. Involvement of specialty trainers in the development and delivery of genetics education may help to address this issue.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006