Findings from a community education needs assessment to facilitate the integration of genomic medicine into primary care

Carol A. Christianson, Karen Potter Powell, Susan Estabrooks Hahn, Deborah Bartz, Tiese Roxbury, Susan H. Blanton, Jeffery M. Vance, Margaret Pericak-Vance, Joseph Telfair, Vincent C. Henrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To assess the lay public's knowledge of, and beliefs about, genetics and genetic testing to create an educational initiative that promotes acceptance and utilization of genomic medicine in primary health care. METHODS: A telephone survey of English-speaking adults in Guilford County, North Carolina was conducted in 2006 to identify community members' educational needs regarding genetics and genetic testing. RESULTS: Most respondents recognized the connection between family history and disease risk. A majority did not appear to know about: (1) basic principles of inheritance, (2) laws prohibiting genetic discrimination, and (3) the availability and limitations of genetic tests. About 25% thought that they could not reduce their risk if they have a genetic predisposition for disease. Knowledge level was affected by education, experience, age, and race. CONCLUSION: If primary care providers use family history as a risk assessment tool, community education programs must address (1) the collection of family health history, (2) legislation regarding genetic nondiscrimination, (3) benefits and limitations of existing genetic tests, and (4) genetic determinism. Programs emphasizing practical, "how to" information can be targeted to individuals likely to collect family history information and address misperceptions about discrimination, testing, and determinism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-593
Number of pages7
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • community survey
  • educational needs assessment
  • educational plan
  • family history
  • genomic medicine
  • physician education
  • public knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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