Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

Knowledge and Attitudes of Pharmacists on Pharmacogenetics   By Michael Osborne

Background: The incorporation of pharmacogenetics in the medical field is expected to cause a rapid evolution in the delivery of services by all health care professionals in the near future.  Although many health care professionals have begun to predict the implications of pharmacogenetics on their practice, no national study has yet to address which health care professional(s) should be responsible for translating pharmacogenetic information into the routine health care management of their patients.  Studies have also suggested that genetic and pharmacogenetic education in Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy is inadequate. Purpose: The purpose of the present study is to (a) indicate the current knowledge level of pharmacists in the area of genetics and pharmacogenetic testing; (b) assess the attitudes of pharmacists toward pharmacogenetic testing, and; (c) obtain the pharmacists’ perspective on the role various health care professionals, including genetic counselors, should play in pharmacogenetic testing.  Methods: Members of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Section of Clinical Specialists were sent an anonymous, online survey.   Results: Ninety-three pharmacists completed the survey.  Results suggested that pharmacists are most likely to refer a patient undergoing pharmacogenetic testing to another pharmacist, a primary care physician, or a genetic counselor.  Attitudes towards the inclusion of genetic counselors in pharmacogenetic testing were overall positive, with less than 20% of pharmacists indicating that they were uncomfortable or unlikely to utilize the services of a genetic counselor.  On a scale of 1 to 100, the average score for the knowledge based questions was 69.55.  Conclusion: The present study suggests that pharmacists may desire interaction with genetic counselors for their patients that undergo pharmacogenetic testing.  Genetic counselors should provide education to pharmacists about genetics and pharmacogenetics, the services provided by genetic counselors, and the logistics involved in making a referral to a genetic counselor.

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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.”