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The Perspectives of Applicants on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives and Admissions Processes of Genetic Counseling Training Programs

Shetty, Impana (2023) The Perspectives of Applicants on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives and Admissions Processes of Genetic Counseling Training Programs. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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One of the challenges that genetic counseling faces as a profession is the lack of diversity in the field. In recent years, many genetic counseling training programs have developed their own diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in order to promote diversity (Channaoui et al., 2020). There has been little research on how these initiatives have impacted prospective genetic counseling students. This study examined how applicants incorporated a genetic counseling program’s DEI initiatives as well as other factors into their application and match decisions. This study also aimed to characterize strengths and barriers of the genetic counseling program admissions process for applicants belonging to underrepresented groups (URG). A survey was distributed to applicants from the past three genetic counseling admissions cycles (2020, 2021, 2022) through various channels including the Minority Genetic Professionals Network, emails of past University of Pittsburgh Genetic Counseling Program applicants, a listserv of genetic counseling program directors, and the Genetic Counseling Discord. When comparing how respondents from URGs and non-URGs considered a program’s DEI recruitment initiatives in their decisions, a two-sample t-test with equal variances did find a statistically significant difference between both groups (p < 0.0001); 83.3% of URGs agreed or strongly agreed about this factor’s importance compared to 44.7% of non-URGs. Through open-ended questions, participants expressed that the admissions process was not able to appreciate the experiences behind less visible identities such as a low socioeconomic status and being a first-generation student. Findings from this study identified areas of improvement for genetic counseling programs’ DEI initiatives, and could be used to inform potential changes in admissions processes and recruitment strategies for genetic counseling training programs that focus on underrepresented applicants. This study is important for public health as increasing diversity in the field can be important in better patient-provider interactions as well as greater patient satisfaction (Mittman & Downs, 2008).


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shetty, Impanaius3@pitt.eduius3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMunro, Christinemunrocd2@upmc.educhm243
Committee MemberVento, Jodieventojm@pitt.eduventojm
Committee MemberHarrison,
Committee MemberMassart, Mylyndamassartmb@upmc.edumbm66
Committee MemberFeingold, Eleanorfeingold@pitt.edufeingold
Date: 11 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 31 March 2023
Approval Date: 11 May 2023
Submission Date: 25 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 87
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: genetic counseling, diversity, equity, inclusion, prospective genetic counseling applicants, admissions process, application decisions, DEI, DEI initiatives, genetic counseling training programs, underrepresented groups
Date Deposited: 11 May 2023 16:32
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 16:32


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