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Survey Finds Genetic Counselors See Value in Communicating Research Results, But Have Barriers to Doing So

While most genetic counselors say there is value in sharing their research results widely, including with study participants, only just more than half of survey respondents said they had shared findings with participants. Researchers from the University of British Columbia and elsewhere surveyed 142 members of the National Society of Genetics Counselors or the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors on their thoughts and practices regarding research dissemination. As they report in the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the researchers found that nearly all respondents said there is a responsibility for genetic counselors to disseminate their findings, but they also said that results may be communicated largely within academic and professional circles. The researchers further identified barriers to broad research dissemination as well as to providing study participants with aggregate research results, including uncertainty as which results to share and to how to communicate them. "Given these findings, we propose that further resources should be implemented to equip genetic counselors to utilize their skills to maximize the impact of their research, which has demonstrable benefits to participants, the public, and to the profession in highlighting its strong research presence," the researchers write.