Pharmacogenomic education among genetic counseling training programs in North America

Elizabeth Loudon, Stuart A. Scott, Robert Rigobello, Erick R. Scott, Randi Zinberg, Hetanshi Naik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The increasing number of genetic counselors participating directly in clinical pharmacogenomic post-test counseling prompted our evaluation of pharmacogenomic education across genetic counseling training programs in North America. Thirty-one program leadership participants from both the United States (U.S.) and Canada responded to a survey assessing pharmacogenomics education and the role of genetic counselors. Eighty-five percent of respondents agreed pharmacogenomics is currently within the scope of genetic counseling practice, and 96.3% indicated their training programs currently provide education on pharmacogenomics, with the majority reporting < 7 hr of education. Lectures on pharmacogenomics were the most common method for didactics; however, some programs also included practical modalities (e.g., case studies, clinical rotations) and online resources. Barriers to expanding pharmacogenomic education included the constrained timeline of training, and lack of resources and local expertise. Moreover, participants suggested that genetic counselors ideally should be able to order pharmacogenomic tests and counsel patients on pharmacogenomics, including result interpretation, as they believe pharmacogenomics does fall within the scope of practice of genetic counseling. Our novel results also confirm that training program leadership support a pharmacogenomic service delivery model that includes a combined effort between genetic counselors and pharmacists to utilize their synergistic expertise. However, this model likely still necessitates expanding pharmacogenomic didactics in genetic counseling training programs through more practical training and/or by leveraging online pharmacogenomic courses dedicated to supporting clinical implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1508
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • education
  • genetic counseling
  • genetic counselors
  • pharmacogenomics
  • training programs


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