The goal of this course is to help your learners answer the question:
Course objectives can be found in the Resources section of this module.
Your learners will be primary care physicians (PCPs) and while these physicians do not specialize in genetics and genetic testing, most patients (71%) will come to their PCP first with questions about genetic disorders (AMA, 1998). Therefore, although your learners will typically refer patients to genetic specialists when a patient is at moderate to high risk for a hereditary cancer, they need to be able to identify patients who should be referred and need to understand the important issues involved in ordering a genetic test if they take on the responsibility of ordering such a test prior to referral.
Additionally, referral to a genetic specialist does not end the role of the primary care physician in the patient's genetic issues. The primary care physician typically remains responsible for follow-up care, specifically, enhanced screening, and referrals for risk-reducing interventions and treatment (should the patient begin to show symptoms). In the case of risk-reducing interventions, the primary care physician will play an important support role in aiding the patient to make decisions regarding their health care strategy.
How this course is different
This course is unlike traditional continuing medical education (CME) courses in that your students will not be expressing their understanding of lessons by answering multiple choice questions. The use of case studies as a learning tool will be familiar, but the task of responding to case studies by developing practice tools will not be. Your students may be frustrated with the seeming open-endedness of tasks, but should be motivated by the relevance of course outcomes to their practice.
The instructor's role
Your role in this course will be that of a facilitator, rather than a content provider. You will be helping your learners to:
American Medical Association. (1998). Genetic Testing: A Study of Consumer Attitudes, March 1998. Survey Center, Chicago, Available at: www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/article/2304-2937.htm.
Schwarz, R. (2002) . The skilled facilitator: A comprehensive resource for consultants, facilitators, managers, trainers, and coaches. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Shirts, B.H., and Parker, L.S. (2008). Changing interpretations, stable genes: responsibility of patients, professionals, and policy makers in the clinical interpretation of complex genetic information. Genetics in Medicine, 10(11),778-783).
Patients waiting to see the doctor, with their fears, Wellcome Library, London, Wellcome Images