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Assessing Genetic Risks: Implications for Health and Social Policy
The committee recommends the recruitment of more minorities for training programs in all aspects of clinical genetics. This will be especially important in providing culturally sensitive and appropriate genetic testing, education, and counseling services in the future when so-called minority groups will comprise a majority of the population of the United States (see Chapter 4).
The committee also recommends the development and evaluation of innovative on-line computer and interactive computer systems to disseminate the latest information on genetic disorders and on recommendations and guidelines for genetic testing. This is one way to improve the quality of genetic testing, education, and counseling services in the future (e.g., through the program of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the American College of Physicians for ACP members to have on-line access to the resources of the NLM). The committee believes that the NLM is an excellent mechanism for providing access to critical information on genetics and recommended criteria for genetic testing, genetic counseling, and follow-up care to members of ACP and other interested professional groups. The ELSI program should coordinate with professional genetics organizations and the NLM to develop such a genetics education and dissemination program for interested health professionals.
In its deliberations, the committee had the benefit of a 1991 background paper on professional personnel issues in human genetics developed by Ann C.M. Smith, M.S. (a consultant to the committee), and committee staff members, Jane Fullarton (Study Director) and C. Elaine Lawson (Research Assistant). Additional data (for 1992) were provided by Kathi Hanna, D.P.A., who provided technical consulting to the committee on parts of this chapter. The committee particularly benefited from access to new data on physician knowledge of basic genetics (Hofman et al., 1993).
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