The Genetic Counseling Cultural and Linguistic Competence Toolkit (GCCCT) is the final product of the 2009 Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship (JEMF) award of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. This award facilitated professional development opportunities for one member of the genetic counseling profession, Nancy Steinberg Warren, MS, CGC in diversity, cultural competence, and pedagogy. The resulting project outcome is this website, which is designed as a flexible, online resource portal to benefit the entire genetic counseling profession.
We will note feedback from our users and new links, articles and features on the What's New page.
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Genetic Counselors and Nurses: The National Society of Genetic Counselors has authorized approval of up to 1.44 CEUs or 14.43 contact hours (Category 1) for the Cases section of the Toolkit (9 cases).
Medical Interpreters:The International Medical Interpreters Association has authorized approval of 1.4 IMIA Continuing Education Units for the Cases section of the Toolkit.
Translators:The American Translators Association has authorized approval of 10 ATA Continuing Education Points for the Cases section of the Toolkit.
Students and Other Health Professionals: Learning Certificates are available to document online learning.
For more information or to register, click on the CEU link at the top of this page. The JEMF grant supported development of this website, but we depend on registration fees to maintain and expand the it over time. Please consider registering for CEUs or a Learning Certificate.
The GCCCT is a resource portal that includes information designed to appeal to members of all our stakeholder groups (genetic counselors, training programs, and students), as well as prospective students, other health care providers, and members of the general public. Adult learners want information on demand, and their needs are as diverse as they are unique. Therefore, the entire content of this website is available to anyone, at any time of day or night.
Early on, we asked for input about content and format via listserv posts to genetic counselors and genetic counseling program directors and students. We share the general results of these inquiries in the Rationale for the Project section. We used this feedback to try to best meet the expressed needs of the target groups, within the confines of budget and time. Therefore, the toolkit includes a variety of materials that can be used flexibly and creatively.
Each user of the toolkit will be driven by her/his own needs and expectations, each time she/he accesses the site. Although the basic toolkit content is now established, we include live links to many outside resources, and we plan to make additions over time. Please submit suggestions and new resources by using the Contact Us section. We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the site, but we need your input on new additions and applications to genetic counseling practice. Your input will improve and instill vitality into this resource.
The profession of genetic counseling now has a public forum for learning about the critical, current, and ongoing problem of health disparities in health care, which supports our commitment to reducing and eliminating them. In other health care fields, a proven approach to reduce health disparities has been to promote education in cultural competence for providers and students. This toolkit shares publicly how genetic counselors are thinking, learning, collaborating, and improving our knowledge and skills in our roles as clinicians, educators, students and/or culturally, religiously, and linguistically diverse individuals. Our aggregate commitment to these issues is ongoing. As we share our experiences, tips, accomplishments, mistakes and advice with our colleagues, we help improve the cultural competence abilities of the entire profession.
While the vision for this website was the outcome of personal passions, it would not have been possible if not for the JEMF/NSGC funding and support. By posting this new resource in a public access area of our professional website, the NSGC as an organization has given its implicit support for the importance of cultural competence to our profession.
The GCCCT is an online “voice” for the genetic counseling profession to reach out to prospective students from all backgrounds, as well as to other health care professionals and the general public. Perhaps this reaching out will help more people understand what genetic counseling is, and to appreciate how we strive to meet the needs of our clients, no matter what their cultural or linguistic background. We also hope that this website will improve recruitment of underrepresented minorities applying to and graduating from genetic counseling training programs, who will then become important, active, contributing members of our profession.
While genetic counselors are at various places personally and professionally on the cultural competence continuum, this resource portal is a public professional starting point; it is a beginning. We cannot anticipate all of the potential learning opportunities that may be facilitated by the GCCCT. On the other hand, it is easy to ignore the issues of discrimination, poor communication, biases, uncertainty, lack of knowledge and other factors that contribute to health disparities. The real work comes in self-reflecting more deeply and often; learning from each other, our patients, and the literature; and applying our knowledge to practice. Our challenge to each member of the genetic counseling profession is to use the toolkit as a springboard for increasing engagement. Then, let’s share and discuss what works, what we struggle with, and changes in perspectives and practices. Let’s keep setting, achieving, and re-setting personal and professional goals. These efforts will move our entire profession’s place on the cultural competence continuum.
Our vision is that this resource portal will continue to mature and improve with the input of many counselors working in many different settings with many kinds of clients. Every patient, and every human interaction, is a learning opportunity. Perhaps this website is just the first of several generations of resources yet to come. I hope to work with the NSGC and many of you on future efforts to facilitate culturally and linguistically competent genetic counseling practice and graduate training.
Please explore the GCCCT to identify resources that will be most useful to your practice and personal learning curve. We included many links to outstanding government and institutional online resources. We identified clinical and teaching tools that may be applicable to your practice. We included resources for examining personal biases and how to manage them more effectively. We provided links to and reviewed a variety of instructional resources. And, we developed cases to provide opportunities for reflection, increased awareness, increased knowledge and clinical applications. The lead page of each section provides an overview of the general content in that section. Or, go to the Site Map to review major topics included in the Toolkit.