Enhancing exposure to genetics and genomics through an innovative medical school curriculum

Genet Med. 2012 Jan;14(1):163-7. doi: 10.1038/gim.0b013e31822dd7d4. Epub 2011 Sep 26.


Purpose: Physicians entering medical practice in the 21st century will require more than a basic understanding of human genetics because of rapid progress in the field of genetics and genomics. The current undergraduate medical curriculum at most institutions is not adequate to prepare medical students for these challenges. Enhancing exposure to genetics throughout the medical school curriculum should help prepare the next generation of physicians to use genetic and genomic information for optimal patient care.

Methods: We have introduced a Genetics Track Curriculum to the undergraduate medical curriculum at Baylor College of Medicine.

Results: This track runs in parallel to the existing 4-year curriculum and includes didactic sessions, small group discussions, longitudinal clinical experiences, clinical and laboratory rotations, community outreach, and scholarly projects related to genetics. It also provides the students a means to network and discuss topics and career paths in medical genetics.

Conclusion: We have developed a novel curriculum that enhances genomic education for medical students with the ultimate goal of enabling our graduates to deliver more effective and personalized medical care. We believe that the Genetics Track Curriculum at Baylor College of Medicine can serve as a prototype for other medical schools across the country and abroad.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Genetics / education*
  • Genetics, Medical / education
  • Genomics / education*
  • Humans
  • Physicians
  • Schools, Medical*