Title

Assessment of genetics knowledge and skills in medical students: Insight for a clinical neurogenetics curriculum

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

5-1-2011

Journal

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education

Volume

39

Issue

3

DOI

10.1002/bmb.20489

Keywords

Genetics; Medical education; Neurogenetics

Abstract

The pace of discovery in biochemistry and genetics and its effect on clinical medicine places new curricular challenges in medical school education. We sought to evaluate students' understanding of neurogenetics and its clinical applications to design a pilot curriculum into the clinical neurology clerkship. We utilized a needs assessment and a written examination to evaluate the genetics knowledge of 81 third- and fourth-year medical students. The needs assessment surveyed students' self-perceptions of their own understanding of basic and clinically related genetic principles and clinical skills, as well as the most effective educational methods. Medical students reported more competence with basic science learned during the preclinical years than clinical concepts, and they demonstrated relatively low knowledge levels in clinical neurogenetics concepts on the examination, with an average of 29% correct on questions pertaining to genetic counseling compared with 82% correct with regard to inheritance patterns. Common, cross-specialty clinical skills were attained (e.g. internet search, family histories), while at least half of students reported minimal understanding or awareness of key genetics websites (e.g. OMIM) and indications for support group recommendations and genetics referrals. Teaching these more specific genetics skills and concepts needs to be emphasized in the clinical curriculum. © 2011 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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