Commentary: to genotype or not to genotype? Addressing the debate through the development of a genomics and personalized medicine curriculum

Acad Med. 2011 Aug;86(8):925-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182223acf.


As technologic innovation helps broaden and refine our knowledge base of genetic associations, a growing interest in translating these genetic discoveries to clinically useful laboratory tests has given rise to the potential of personalized medicine. To fully realize this potential, medical schools must educate trainees on genetic and genomic testing in clinical settings. An emerging debate in academic medical centers is not about the need for this education but, rather, the most effective educational models that should be deployed. At Stanford School of Medicine, several proposals to offer personal genotyping in the educational curriculum argued that learning genetics and the attendant cutting-edge molecular techniques would be more powerful and sustained if students were applying their knowledge to their personal genotypes. Given the complex ethical, legal, and social issues involved in implementing such a program, a schoolwide task force was formed to evaluate the risks and benefits of offering personal genotyping to students and residents. In this commentary, the authors discuss the salient issues raised by the task force and describe the safeguards adopted into the ultimate approval and implementation of the course, which included the opportunity for students to analyze their own genomes.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Genomics / education*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine*
  • United States