Genetics and molecular diagnostics in the clinical laboratory science curriculum.Clin Lab Sci 2002; 15(3):160-6CL
To determine the nature and extent of education in human genetics and molecular diagnostics in clinical laboratory science (CLS) programs throughout the U.S.
A written survey was mailed to 263 CLS programs. Data were expressed as raw numbers and percentages of responses.
State University of New York, Upstate Medical University.
There were 162 responses and 151 usable surveys. Most respondents (86.8%) were department chairs/CLS program directors; 13.2% were CLS faculty or educational coordinators.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Questions were designed to determine frequency of CLS programs providing education in genetics, specific molecular methods and clinical applications, format of instruction, satisfaction levels with education provided, and perceptions on importance of teaching genetics, molecular diagnostics, and related hands-on experiences.
Over 92% of CLS programs teach human genetics and molecular diagnostics in varied formats. Polymerase chain reaction was the most frequently taught molecular method; microorganism detection, the most commonly taught clinical application. More programs teach theory than provide hands-on experience in molecular diagnostics. Only 59 (39.1%) teach related ethical issues. Sixty-seven respondents (44.4%) were dissatisfied with the education they provide, due to lack of time to teach the material (n = 49; 73.1%), lack of knowledgeable faculty (n = 43; 64.2%), and expense of methods (n = 37; 55.2%). Most respondents felt it was important to include human genetics (n = 145; 96%) and molecular diagnostics (n = 149; 98.7%) in their curriculum, and related hands-on experiences in the student laboratory (n = 106; 70.2%) or clinical rotation (n = 135; 89.4%). Over 82% (n = 124) expected instruction of molecular diagnostics to increase in the next five years.
Most CLS programs include human genetics and molecular diagnostics in their curriculum, and expect the education they provide to increase in the next 5 years. In order to meet this expectation, CLS programs may need to provide opportunities for faculty training, seek funding to cover the cost of methods, and consider innovative curriculum changes.