For the Record – Upcoming MLA poster!

Amy Donahue will be presenting a poster at MLA ’18. Check out the details below!

Another Genome Project: Medical Library Services for Genetic Counselors and Genetic Counseling Students

Monday, May 21 2:30 PM – 3:25 PM

Objectives: To determine services and resources medical libraries currently provide to genetic counselors and genetic counseling students. The goal of this research is to explore how medical libraries meet the information needs of the genetic counseling profession and to begin to elucidate any gaps between needs and existing resources in the era of clinical genomic medicine and precision medicine.

Methods: Representatives of medical libraries were invited in fall 2017 via MLA & National Network of Libraries of Medicine listservs to take an online survey developed by the authors. The IRB exempt Qualtrics survey collected library demographic information (including region, setting, staffing size, etc.), qualitative and quantitative information about services provided to genetic counselors and/or genetic counseling students, and whether specific resources are made available through the library.

Results: There were 27 responses, representing libraries across the United States and beyond in academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, multi-hospital systems, and additional specialized academic and medical settings. Fifteen respondents indicated their setting employed genetic counselors; 7 indicated that their setting is affiliated with a genetic counseling (GC) training program (of these, three indicated both). Eight respondents, with either no or unknown GC program affiliation, had no employed genetic counselors. Of the 19 responses from settings employing genetic counselors and/or affiliated with a GC program, 9 respondents said that they do not provide genetic counseling-specific library services. When services were provided (n=10), the most common was literature searching (n=8), followed by specific resource purchases/subscriptions (n=7). Four respondents indicated a dedicated genetic counseling liaison librarian, and three had developed a genetic counseling subject guide or other resource list. While over 80% indicated providing access to both genetics resources such as ClinVar and Genetics Home Reference and general medical resources such as PubMed, UpToDate, and medical journals (e.g. NEJM), less than half of all 27 respondents indicated they provide access to the American Journal of Medical Genetics, the Journal of Genetic Counseling, or the books Desk Reference: Clinical Genetics & Genomics and A Guide to Genetic Counseling.

Conclusions: Genetic counseling is a specialized and rapidly growing medical profession: there are currently over 4,000 board certified genetic counselors and 39 training programs in the United States. The results of this survey, while representing a small number of medical libraries, demonstrate a substantial opportunity for library and information services targeted to both practicing genetic counselors and genetic counseling students.

Keywords: genetic counseling, genetics, library services, library resources

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