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Providing basic genetic education to paramedical/health professionals at selected Indian ophthalmic centers

Babcock, Holly (2014) Providing basic genetic education to paramedical/health professionals at selected Indian ophthalmic centers. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: In developed nations like the United States of America, genetic counselors help patients understand the health implications of genetic information. However, in developing countries, overwhelming patient volumes and a lack of genetic providers has hindered the progression of genetics as part of patient evaluation. The goal of the present study is to implement genetic education in locations where practicing genetic counselors are unavailable to aid the physician in patient management. This pilot study focuses on ophthalmic genetics in nine eye clinics throughout India that requested such an intervention as part of a national research group in 2011.

Methods: The project consisted of two phases: education and implementation. The educational phase involved the creation and dissemination of an online training course designed for paramedical and health professionals. The course focused on the basics of genetics, communication of genetic concepts, and how to construct a three-generation pedigree. Pre- and post-test assessments were used to assess efficacy. A field trip to India to conduct in-person course review workshops was completed. The implementation phase allowed participants to integrate skills from the course into clinical practice for 6 months. After the implementation period, a second, non-interventional field trip to India allowed for clinical observations of patient pathway, content of interaction, and clinical supervision. Site supervisors were asked for feedback and to disclose any adverse events (defined as any negative event as a direct result of provision of genetic education) that occurred during the implementation period.

Results: Nine clinics in India completed the project. Average pre- and post-test score differences were statistically significant (p<0.05) in all modules. While all 9 centers have used genetic education with consistency, with pedigree-taking being the most widely implemented practice, 7 of 9 have sustained its use. Clinical observations revealed that all participants can construct three-generation pedigrees and zero adverse events were reported.

Conclusion: This pilot project is significant to public health because demonstrates an effective method of teaching the study population basic aspects of clinical genetics and that safe implementation of these skills with perceived benefit is realistic. Sustained implementation depends on a distinct patient pathway with defined responsibilities.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Babcock, Hollyheb36@pitt.eduHEB36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorNischal, Kanwalnischalkk@upmc.eduKAN72
Committee ChairGettig, Elizabethbgettig@pitt.eduBGETTIG
Committee MemberScanga,
Committee MemberMartinson, Jeremyjmartins@pitt.eduJMARTINS
Date: 27 June 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 March 2014
Approval Date: 27 June 2014
Submission Date: 4 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 165
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Genetic Counseling
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: education, India, ophthalmology, genetics, pedigree
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2014 21:11
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:41


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