249333 Opportunities and Obstacles in Genetic Counseling Training: The Philippines' Experience

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:30 PM

Mercy Laurino, MS CGC , Institute for Public Health Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Wylie Burke, MD, PhD , Professor and Chair, Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Carmencita Padilla, MD MAHPS , Institute of Human Genetics, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines
In an emerging country, the needed healthcare system infrastructure for clinical diagnosis and management of vulnerable patients with genetic conditions is not yet fully addressed. Specifically in the Philippines, there are currently only 7 medical geneticists serving 92 million people. Despite the paucity of trained specialists, public health genetics programs (e.g., Newborn Screening, the Birth Defects Surveillance Project, and the proposed Telegenetics Referral System) are rapidly expanding. International collaboration with medical geneticists prompted initial planning of the urgent need to establish a genetic counseling training program in the country. An assessment was conducted to determine aspects of the genetic counseling profession most relevant to the community and the ideal strategy for training. Input from experts in various public health fields was sought during curriculum development. In June 2011, training the Philippines' first cohort of genetic counseling students is projected to commence at the University of the Philippines Manila. About 10 students per year are enrolled to eventually fill the estimated need of at least 81 trained genetic counseling professionals for the country. Student-mentor collaboration with experienced genetic counselors in the United States and Canada was created to enhance training through web-based communications. The establishment of the genetic counseling training program necessitated the strategic planning of committed local medical geneticists with the collaboration of experienced genetic professionals. Its success depended on the integration into the existing healthcare system, the health concerns of the population, and the advancement of genomics to improve health.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1) To describe the process in creating a genetic counseling training program curriculum in an emerging country 2) To identify barriers and facilitators to implement the proposed genetic counseling training program 3) To compare and contrast similarities and differences of the genetic counseling training program curriculum between the United States and the Philippines

Keywords: Global Education, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this abstract because I am primarily involved during the development of the genetic counseling training program in the Philippines. I am a licensed certified genetic counselor, and received my masters training from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In 2009, I began my doctoral studies in Public Health Genetics at the University of Washington.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.