Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

North Carolina Primary Care Providers Awareness, Perceptions, Experience and use of Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests.  By Whitney Cogswell

Background:  Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is a new development that offers consumers the opportunity to purchase genetic testing over the internet without consulting a health care professional.  Little is known about primary care providers’ attitudes about DTC testing or their interactions with patients who have had or are considering DTC genetic testing.  The goal of this study was to explore physician awareness, experience with patients, opinions, and preparedness surrounding DTC genetic testing to ascertain their educational needs.  Methods:  A survey was created consisting of 28 multiple choice and 2 scalable questions.  The survey was mailed to 2,402 internists and family practice physicians on membership lists created by the North Carolina Medical Society.  The survey was followed up by a reminder postcard and a reminder survey at three week intervals.   Results:  The study found that 38.5% of responding physicians were aware of DTC genetic testing.  Of these, 19.5% had a patient either ask a question about or bring in results from DTC genetic testing.  Among physicians who were aware, 41.4% think that testing is clinically useful.  Additionally, 14.5% felt prepared to answer questions about DTC genetic testing, and 73.4% desired to learn more.  Conclusions:  Less than half of NC PCPs were aware of DTC genetic testing, and very few have had experience with it during patient care.  NC PCPs are unsure of the clinical utility of DTC genetic testing and would find medical management guidelines concerning DTC genetic testing useful.  Additionally, while many physicians felt they were prepared to answer questions about DTC genetic testing, they still desire to learn more about it. 

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "

  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."

  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”