Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

Evaluation of Biotech 101: An Educational Outreach Program in Genetics and Biotechnology.  By Kelly M East

Background: Recent advances in research and biotechnology are making genetics and genomics increasingly relevant to the lives and health of the general public.  However, literature has shown a low level of genetic literacy among both the general public and healthcare professionals.  For the public to make informed healthcare decisions and participate fully in policy decisions relating to genetic information there is a need for increased genetic literacy.  It was with this goal in mind that the Biotech 101 program was created by the Educational Outreach Department at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Biotech 101 in achieving its goal of increasing the genetic literacy of program participants.  Methods: Biotech 101 is a five-week educational outreach course for the general public, held on five consecutive Tuesday evenings, introducing participants to topics in genetics, genomics, and biotechnology.  Program participants completed pre-test and posttest surveys consisting of both quantitative and qualitative questions.  Increase in genetic literacy was measured by the change in self-perceived knowledge regarding topics covered through the course.   Results: A total of 392 individuals have attended Biotech 101.  Most participants chose to attend to increase their knowledge of genetics, biotechnology, and HudsonAlpha.   Participants reported a significant increase in self-perceived knowledge in each content area, as well as an impact on their everyday lives and decisions.  Qualitative responses expressed widespread appreciation towards HA for offering the course, as well as highlighted areas for improvement.  Discussion:  The results of this study will be used by the HudsonAlpha team for the development of future educational programming.  In addition, the information can be used as a model for others in the genetic counseling and health education communities in the development and evaluation of similar programs.

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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.”