“The Universal Genomics Instructor Handbook and Toolkit” – a new, free educational resource designed to educate clinicians in all medical specialties in genomic medicine – is now available to improve physician genomic education worldwide.
Developed by a team led by Richard L. Haspel, MD, PhD, pathologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, the handbook and accompanying online toolkit were developed through funding from The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the 27 institutes and centers at the National Institute of Health. The resources can be downloaded for free at www.pathologylearning.org/trig.
The program builds on a genomic pathology curriculum created at BIDMC and then further developed by the Training Residents in Genomics (TRIG) Working Group – made up of experts in medical education, molecular pathology and clinical genetics formed through the Pathology Residency Directors Section of the Association of Pathology Chairs.
While the TRIG materials were geared towards pathologists, the Universal Toolkit can be adapted to any specialty. With these “plug and play” exercises, genes and diseases can be added to provide specialty-specific education so all health-care providers can have introductory training in genomic medicine.
“Genomics has transformed medicine over the last decade,” said Haspel. “As almost every physician will have to manage issues related to genomic testing, it is critical that they have some knowledge in this area.”
Utilizing a team-based learning approach, the curriculum guides students through four exercises: Single Gene Testing; Use of Multigene Assays; Whole-Exome Sequencing; and Polygenic Disease Testing and Pharmacogenomics. Rich with handouts, presentations and detailed instructions, the handbook and toolkit contain everything needed to assist in local workshop implementation.
Haspel and colleagues developed the materials as a part of their work with the Intersociety Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics (ISCC) with educational design support from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Demonstrating adaptability,
The curriculum has been extensively vetted through highly successful workshops held at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), American Heart Association (AHA) and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meetings.
“The Intersociety Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics is a unique group that enables individuals from diverse disciplines to discuss best practices and develop tools for genomics education,” said Haspel, who is also co-chair of the ISCC. “Through this collaboration, we have produced the highest quality educational resource that can promote genomics training in a wide-variety of specialties.”
“Based on the success of the Training Residents in Genomics (TRIG) program, the Universal Genomics Instructor Handbook and Toolkit will provide physicians in all specialties with an easy-to-use introductory training opportunity in genomic medicine,” said Henry M. Rinder, MD, FASCP, a member of the TRIG Working Group.
This work was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant (R25CA168544).