Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS Human Genetics


Human Genetics Graduate Program


Previous studies have reported that 90.1% of genetic counselors know they have counseled a patient who identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT). Since unique health disparities exist within the LGBT population, studies have found significant benefit to LGBT patient care curriculum in medical training programs. Of genetic counselors surveyed in past studies, few (17%) had received LGBT specific training and most (61%) desired such training. This information suggests a need for LGBT topics to be implemented into the education of genetic counselors. This study tests this hypothesis by development, implementation and assessment of a replicable LGBT curriculum that was observed by 21 students currently enrolled in a genetic counseling training program. The curriculum was developed by review of literature regarding present LGBT issues in health care and genetic counseling, as well as methods of teaching cultural competency. The curriculum was assessed using participant completion of the adapted Sexual Orientation Counselor Competency Scale (SOCCS) pre- and post-curriculum observation. The SOCCS allowed for assessment of the change in sexual orientation competency of genetic counseling students in the areas of knowledge, attitudes and skills due to this curriculum. Additionally, a Knowledge-Based Survey specific to genetic counseling was used to further assess the benefits. The curriculum developed as a result of this study was shown to improve participants’ total sexual orientation competency, knowledge and skills on providing genetic counseling to the LGBT population. Students reported that they believed the curriculum would serve as a useful reference in their careers and were, on average, overall satisfied with the content and presentation of content. Additional findings and methods for implementation and adaptation for use in future genetic counseling trainings are presented.