Background: Genetics education can be integrated into general care medicine through primary care residency programs. A study of primary care residents was done to evaluate quality, satisfaction, and barriers in genetics education in residency training programs. Thus, providing more evidence for the necessity for its development and progress.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive self-administered questionnaire survey was delivered to four primary care West Virginia University (WVU)residency training programsin 2020-2021. The anonymous 14-item survey included the following questionnaire domains: general data, genetics training satisfaction, and genetics education barriers.
Results: The survey response rate was 52% (70/123) and 59 participants completed the survey. Overall, respondents viewed genetic education as critical to their chosen specialty (90%). Trainees at all educational levels obtained their education mostly from class based educational curricula (77% from lectures, 65% from didactic and 49% from grand rounds). The majority of survey respondents indicated insufficient experience with genetic patient care (34% ward genetic consultation, 5% clinic experience, 0% genetic department rotation). The percentage of residents who were satisfied with genetic topics were as follows: basic genetics (57%), capturing family history (82%), initiating basic genetic workup (15%), a basic understanding of the genetic report (23%), basic management surveillance in the genetic patient (18%), understanding the genetic referral and explaining it to a patient (47%).
Residents reported barriers to genetic interest included complexity of the field (87%), followed by limited utility of genetics testing (41%). The most common suggestions for improving the genetic education component were to provide more lectures (61%), followed by enhanced advertisement of genetic education resources specifically rotations in the genetics department (22%). Other suggestions include the integration of genetic education in inpatient learning (20%) and providing research experience (7%).
Conclusion: Primary care residents were satisfied with their genetic knowledge in the classroom and stated a clear need for enhanced hands-on clinical skills and research experience in their current residency training. The survey suggestions for improvement can enhance primary care residents’ genetic training that can lead to advances in rare disease recognition, precision medicine, and improve access to genetics testing.