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Newton, Stephanie Ann (2006) USE OF A MATCHING ALGORITHM IN THE ADMISSION PROCESS OF GENETIC COUNSELING PROGRAMS. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Genetic counselors are health professionals specially trained in medical genetics and counseling. Twenty-nine master's level genetic counseling training programs exist in North America and collectively admit approximately 195 students each year. Continuation of the education and training of these specialized health professionals has significant public health importance. The existing admissions process has recently proven to be labor intensive and time consuming, with difficulty encountered while trying to fill programs. As a result of these obstacles, an alternative admissions procedure was explored. The match algorithm used by U.S. medical residency programs was used as a basis for this study. Under this system, software utilizes rank order lists submitted by programs and applicants to place the two parties into the most mutually beneficial program-applicant pairings. Twenty-seven genetic counseling programs and 166 current first year students participated in a survey that gathered program and student preferences. In addition, interest, opinions, and suggestions concerning the existing and proposed admissions system were ascertained. Due to incomplete student participation in the study, the U.S. residency match algorithm was modified. Compared with the existing admissions process, the match resulted in more programs (4 of 27) with unfilled slots, and approximately equal student satisfaction in terms of which program they were matched to. The accuracy of the modified match results is limited due to the match modifications and insufficient number of study participants. The majority of students (66%) indicated they would not be willing to participate in a match and 75% indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the existing admissions process. Program directors were largely satisfied with the existing process (81%). Benefits of a match may include: time efficiency, reduction in anxiety, and ease of process. Both students and program directors perceived barriers to the implementation of a match, including the problem of financial aid distribution under a match, the operating costs, and loss of decision making ability. Both groups suggested improvements for the existing admissions process. Suggestions included introduction of a universal application and an earlier notification date for admissions decisions. This study serves as a collection of data to be used for further investigation into the use of a matching algorithm in genetic counseling admissions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Newton, Stephanie
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGettig, Elizabethbgettig@hgen.pitt.eduBGETTIG
Committee MemberFeingold, Eleanoreleanor.feingold@hgen.pitt.eduFEINGOLD
Committee MemberWilson, Johnwilson@nsabp.pitt.eduJWW
Committee MemberGrubs, Robinrgrubs@hgen.pitt.eduRGRUBS
Date: 1 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 5 April 2006
Approval Date: 1 June 2006
Submission Date: 11 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
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: admission; genetic counseling; match algorithm; NMS; NRMP; student satisfaction
Other ID:, etd-04112006-104139
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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