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Case Studies for Medical Students: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI) Associated with Genetics

This series of courses are designed to provide the knowledge and skills required to successfully incorporating genetic testing and counseling into clinical practice.

 

Members of KUMC and Schulich can go directly to their programs.

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MedStudent Genetics Program (12 hours)

  • A Basic Human Genetics Primer: Part I

    This course offers an introduction to (or a refresher of) the basic principles of human genetics that are important to practicing physicians. The principles discussed in this course serve as the foundation for understanding the etiology of genetic conditions, genetic testing, and emerging therapies. Information covered in this course provides prerequisite knowledge for many other genetics courses on this site. Please note: The course is divided into Part I and Part II. To optimize the learning experience, it is recommended that Part I be taken prior to Part II.
  • A Basic Human Genetics Primer: Part II

    This course offers an introduction to (or a refresher of) the basic principles of human genetics that are important to practicing physicians. The principles discussed in this course serve as the foundation for understanding the etiology of genetic conditions, genetic testing, and emerging therapies. Information covered in this course provides prerequisite knowledge for many other genetics courses on this site. Please note: The course is divided into Part I and Part II. To optimize the learning experience, it is recommended that Part I be taken prior to Part II.
  • Complex Inheritance: Genetics of Common Complex Disorders
    This case-based course focuses on the genetics of common complex disorders (e.g., autism, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) and the approach to incorporating existing and emerging genetic information into clinical care.
  • The Medical Family History

    This course emphasizes the importance of obtaining a family history in primary care. Tools to assist in eliciting the family history are introduced, and instruction about recognizing and responding to red flags is provided. There are opportunities to practice developing pedigrees using standard symbols and nomenclature, as well as to assess likely inheritance patterns, calculate recurrence risks for family members, and appreciate the tremendous impact that genetic disease can have on the family and society.
  • Pediatrics: A Family Study of a Child with Multiple Congenital Anomalies
    This case-based course follows a family through the birth of a child with multiple congenital anomalies, diagnosis in the child of a chromosomal abnormality, and the family's adjustment to life with a special needs child.
  • Genetic Services and the Primary Care Provider: This course lays the foundation for the general genetics and cancer genetics courses included in this curriculum. The course begins by exploring the role of primary care providers in the provision of genetic services. The course also outlines components of genetic services.
  • Introduction to Genetic Counseling: As genetic knowledge and the number of available genetic tests continue to grow, it is predicted that there will be an insufficient number of genetics professionals to meet patient demand. It is therefore likely that primary care professionals will, in the future, play a larger role in the provision of genetic services (Institute of Medicine, 1994; Lapham et al., 2000; Collins, 1999). This course helps providers recognize patients who would benefit from genetic counseling, outlines the process of genetic counseling, and introduces online genetic resources most commonly used by genetics professionals.
  • Genetic Testing in Clinical Practice: This course provides an overview of the applications of genetic testing in medicine and common testing methodologies. The various factors that impact test selection and interpretation are reviewed, and this information is applied in a clinical testing decision exercise.
  • Ethical and Legal Considerations in Genetic Testing: This course first presents a brief review of the major biomedical ethical principles and sources of legislation and legal precedent with implications for medical genetics. This foundation will allow a critical assessment of some of the most challenging issues in the genetic decision-making process as presented through a case study.
  • Etiology of Sporadic and Hereditary Cancers: This course reviews the molecular processes responsible for both sporadic and heritable cancers. It also summarizes the more common cancer syndromes and provides helpful resources for patient management.
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome: Genetic Testing and Counseling: In 2004, breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in US women (American Cancer Society, 2004). Ovarian cancer was the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer. A small subset of each of these cancers, 5% to 10%, is hereditary (Claus et al., 1991; Eisinger et al., 1998; Nicoletto et al., 2001; Peto et al., 1996). This course is designed to assist healthcare providers in recognizing patients who are at increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome. It is also designed to help providers offer both genetic counseling and BRCA gene testing to appropriate patients.
  • Mini-Review of the Molecular Genetics of BRCA1/BRCA2: One of every 8 women in the United States (or 12.5%) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime (American Cancer Society, 2003), making breast cancer the second most common cancer in US women. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in US women, occurring in 1% to 2% of women, and is the fifth leading cause of death (American Cancer Society, 2003). The majority of breast and ovarian cancers are sporadic; however, 5% to 10% are inherited. The most common cause of heritable breast and ovarian cancer is a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (Miki et al., 1994; Wooster et al., 1995). This course is designed to provide physicians with information about the molecular genetics of BRCA1 and BRCA2.