Precision Medicine: Familiarity, Perceived Health Drivers, and Genetic Testing Considerations Across Health Literacy Levels in a Diverse Sample

Jessica Williams, Vivian M. Yeh, Marino A. Bruce, Carolyn Szetela, Flora Ukoli, Consuelo H. Wilkins, Sunil Kripalani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


A clear awareness of a patient’s knowledge, values, and perspectives is an important component of effective genetic counseling. Advances in precision medicine, however, have outpaced our understanding of patient perceptions of this new approach. Patient views may differ across the three domains of precision medicine (genetics, behavioral, and environmental determinants of health), ethnic/racial groups, and health literacy levels. This study describes and compares group differences in familiarity, perceptions, and preferences for precision medicine in a diverse sample. Between 2016 and 2017, 252 participants completed a 10–15-min survey in three primary care clinics in Florida and Tennessee. The final sample was 42.5% African American/Black, 25.8% Hispanic/Latino, 25.0% White, and 6.7% other ethnicity/race. Less than a quarter of participants reported being familiar with the term “precision medicine,” but were more familiar with basic genetic terms. Participants with higher health literacy reported greater familiarity with terms (p ≤.003). African Americans/Black participants were more likely to identify ethnicity/race and discrimination as influencing their health (p ≤.004). When deciding to get a genetic test, individuals across ethnic/racial groups shared similar considerations. Those with higher health literacy, however, gave significantly greater importance to provider trust (p ≤.008). Given the recent emergence of precision medicine, at present there may be limited differences in patient perceptions across ethnic/racial groups. Culturally sensitive efforts, tailored to health literacy level, may aid equitable precision medicine uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Attitude to health
  • Health disparities
  • Health literacy
  • Precision health
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

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