An assessment of health educators' likelihood of adopting genomic competencies for the public health workforce
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Although the completion of the Human Genome Project helps develop efficient treatment/prevention programs, it will raise new and non-trivial public health issues. Many of these issues fall under the professional purview of health educators. Yet, no studies have evaluated if health educators (HEs) are ready to adopt genomic competencies into health promotion. This dissertation addresses this issue by examining three research questions in three separate studies: 1) Why must HEs develop genomic competencies? 2) What are HEs’ knowledge of, and attitudes toward genomic competencies? And 3) what is HEs’ likelihood of adopting genomic competencies into health promotion? The first theoretical study proposed five arguments supporting the need for HEs to develop their genomic competencies and integrate public health genomics into health promotion. These arguments touched on various dimensions of HEs’ professional goals and ranged from professional responsibilities and competencies, to the availability of funding for genomic-related research or interventions and opportunities for future employment. For the second study, a web-based survey was developed and distributed to all members of four major health education organizations. A total of 1,925 HEs’ completed the survey and 1,607 responses were utilized in the final analysis. This study indicated that participants had deficient knowledge and unfavorable attitudes toward the CDCproposed genomic competencies. In the third study, a theoretical model was developed to predict HEs’ likelihood to incorporate genomic competencies into their practice. Using techniques from Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), the model was tested with the same data of the second study. Findings supported the proposed theoretical model. While genomic knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy were significantly associated with HEs’ likelihood to incorporate genomic competencies into their practice, attitudes was the strongest predictor of likelihood. In summary, these studies indicated that participating HEs had deficient genomic knowledge, unfavorable attitudes toward a set of CDC-proposed genomic competencies, and low likelihood to adopt genomic competencies into health promotion. Relevant training should be developed and advocated. As the SEM analysis results indicated the survey findings supported the proposed theoretical model, which can be utilized to steer future training for HEs.
Chen, Lei-Shih (2007). An assessment of health educators' likelihood of adopting genomic competencies for the public health workforce. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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