Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Genetic Counselor Workforce Trends in the United States: 2002 To 2016
by Schulz, Charlene J., Dr.P.H., State University of New York at Albany, 2017, 130; 10272174
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to identify and measure trends in genetic counselor (GC) workforce supply in the United States from 2002 to 2016. Using data collected biennially from the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Professional Status Survey (PSS), I calculated overall percent change in GC employment across specific work settings over the past 14 years. I also measured change in the relative percentage of GCs who provide direct patient counseling (i.e. clinical GCs) to determine if the percentage of clinical GCs decreased over time. Analyses were performed to determine if associations existed between GC work settings and 1) percentage of clinical GCs employed by those work settings, and 2) average number of new patient visits per week.

For several years, investigators have suggested that shortages of clinical GCs exist and that GC shortages could worsen, given increasing demand for genetic counseling and testing services. However, studies quantifying GC supply and demand are limited, and both must be measured and compared to confirm GC shortages. The goal of this study was to focus on measuring change in GC supply across work settings over time, and its impact on direct patient counseling.

From this study’s results, I confirmed that there was a decrease in the percentage of GCs employed by University Medical Centers (UMCs), and an increase in GCs employed by Diagnostic Laboratories (DLs) from 2002 to 2016. I also showed that a greater percentage of GCs employed at UMCs counsel patients than GCs employed by DLs. An increase in DL GCs and a decrease in UMC GCs was temporally associated with a decrease in the percentage of clinical GCs. Although a significantly smaller percentage of DL GCs counseled patients than UMC GCs, clinical DL GCs, on average, counseled significantly more new patients per week than clinical UMC GCs. Evidence drawn from this study can help inform strategies to redistribute GC employment across specific work settings in order to increase the percentage of clinical GCs and increase the number of patients receiving genetic counseling services.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weller, Wendy E.
Commitee: Armstrong, David P., Bell, Erin M.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Health Policy, Management and Behavior
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 78/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Genetics, Health care management
Keywords: Genetic counseling, Genetic counselor, Supply, Trends, Work setting, Workforce
Publication Number: 10272174
ISBN: 9781369761962
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