Table 1.

Core Competencies in Genetics for Healthcare Professionals

In the knowledge domain, all health professionals should understand:
 Basic human genetics terminology
 Basic patterns of biological inheritance and variation, both within families and within populations
 How identification of disease-associated genetic variations facilitates development of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options
 The importance of family history (minimum 3 generations) in assessing predisposition to disease
 The interaction of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors in predisposition to disease, onset of disease, response to treatment, and maintenance of health
 The difference between clinical diagnosis of disease and identification of genetic predisposition to disease (genetic variation is not strictly correlated with disease manifestation)
 Various factors that influence the client’s ability to use genetic information and services, for example, ethnicity, culture, related health beliefs, ability to pay, and health literacy
 The potential physical and psychosocial benefits, limitations, and risks of genetic information for individuals, family members, and communities
 Resources available to assist clients seeking genetic information or services, including the types of genetics professionals available and their diverse responsibilities
 The ethical, legal, and social issues related to genetic testing and recording of genetic information (eg, privacy, the concern for genetic discrimination for insurance, and in some countries, employment)
 One’s professional role in the referral to or provision of genetics services and in follow-up of those services
In the skills domain, all health professionals should be able to:
 Gather genetic family history information, including at minimum a 3-generation history
 Identify and refer clients who might benefit from genetic services or from consultation with other professionals for management of issues related to a genetic diagnosis
 Explain effectively the reasons for and benefits of genetic services
 Use information technology to obtain credible, current information about genetics
 Ensure that the informed consent process for genetic testing includes appropriate information about the potential risks, benefits, and limitations of the test in question
In the attitudes domain, all health professionals should:
 Appreciate the sensitivity of genetic information and the need for privacy and confidentiality
 Seek coordination and collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of health professionals
  • Modified with permission from National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics guidelines.1 Copyright © 2007, National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics.