Diversifying Genetic Counseling: Experiences of Students Who Identify as Racial or Ethnic Minorities

Files

CARMICHAEL Dissertation FINAL.pdf

Citation

[Unknown User], “Diversifying Genetic Counseling: Experiences of Students Who Identify as Racial or Ethnic Minorities,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed September 25, 2020, https://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/scholar/items/show/403.

Title

Diversifying Genetic Counseling: Experiences of Students Who Identify as Racial or Ethnic Minorities

Creator

Carmichael, Nikkola

Date

2020

Description

Since the establishment of the first genetic counseling training program in 1969, the field has grown to include more than 5,000 certified genetic counselors in the United States and Canada, approximately 90% of whom identify as white or Caucasian. Despite decades of discussion about diversity and inclusion efforts in the profession, little is known about the training experiences of genetic counseling students who identify as racial or ethnic minorities. The purpose of this constructivist grounded-theory qualitative study was to characterize the training experiences of genetic counseling students who identify as racial or ethnic minorities. Thirteen semi-structured focus groups were conducted via videoconference with 32 minority recent graduates of genetic counseling programs. Interview questions addressed the classroom and clinical environments in which participants trained, the ways that racial or ethnic identity impacted student relationships with classmates and faculty, sources of psychological support, and student sense of belonging in the genetic counseling profession. The results revealed that: 1) Classroom teaching of cultural competency relies heavily on discussion-based learning, which places a disproportionate burden on minority students to educate their classmates; 2) During clinical rotations, minority students may encounter specific challenges related to their race or ethnicity, but many also bring to these encounters a variety of skills for “frame-switching” between cultural contexts, skills that enrich their counseling toolkit; and, 3) Minority genetic counselors encounter experiences that they perceive as suggestions that they don’t belong in the profession, indicating that genetic counseling as a field needs to identify and address the ways in which expectations continue to be reinforced that the “typical” genetic counselor is white and female. These results suggest interventions for creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive training and professional environment.

Subject

diversity, genetic counselors, graduate school, minority, focus groups

Publisher

Simmons University (Boston, Mass.)

Rights

Material from the Simmons University Archives collections are made available for study purposes only. For more information, or to request rights to reproduce or reuse any material, contact the the Simmons University Archives at archives@simmons.edu.

Format

1 PDF (139 Pages)

Language

English

Type

Doctoral Dissertations

PhD Collections

Health Professionals Education, PhD