Needs Assessment in Genomic Education
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The knowledge of genomic discoveries has been expanding daily, holding enormous potential to improve population health. Nevertheless, the training of health educators about genomics is lagging behind. To facilitate the movement of genomics into health promotion practice, as the first step, we conducted the first national survey to examine genomic education needs among health educators in the United States. A total of 980 health educators holding the Certified Health Education Specialist designation completed our web-based survey. The majority of participants reported that they had limited knowledge and training in genomics and were interested in seeking genomic education. Their first three preferred educational topics included genomic disorders/diseases (68.2%), family health history or genetic risk assessments (55.5%), and how to link genomics to health promotion (51.0%). A few contents, including basic genomic concepts, communication skills, and how to integrate genomics into routine professional tasks, were important to health educators' practice in genomics, but respondents seemed to be less favorable toward learning these contents. Continuing education (89.4%), web-based training (85.9%), and professional conferences (76.7%) were participants' top three desired delivery methods. This study will help guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of future genomic training programs for U.S. health educators.