Evaluating and improving the implementation of a community-based hereditary cancer screening program

Samantha Greenberg*, Beverly M. Yashar, Mark Pearlman, Deb Duquette, Kara Milliron, Monica Marvin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Healthcare disparities exist in the provision of cancer genetic services including genetic counseling and testing related to BRCA1/2 mutations. To address this in a community health setting a screening tool was created to identify high-risk women. This study evaluates the implementation of the tool and identifies opportunities for improved cancer genetic screening, including regular clinician education. A mixed-method approach was used to evaluate clinician utilization of the screening tool at Planned Parenthood affiliates. Novel surveys that evaluated acceptance and implementation were administered to clinicians (n = 14) and semi-structured interviews (n = 6) were used to explore clinicians’ perspectives and identify gaps in its utilization. Educational modules that addressed gaps were developed, implemented, and evaluated using a post-education survey (n = 8). Clinicians reported confidence in administering and interpreting the screening tool, but reported less confidence in their knowledge of cancer genetics and ability to connect clients with genetic counseling and testing (p =.003). Educational modules resulted in significant gains in clinician knowledge on genetic topics (p <.05) and increased self-reported confidence in connecting clients with genetic services. The modules reinforced the belief that genetic testing is beneficial for patients at increased risk (p =.001) and is important to inform subsequent medical management (p =.027). While building community clinicians’ capacity to connect clients with genetic services is crucial, it is challenged by knowledge and confidence gaps in discussions of genetic services with clients. Consistent genetic-focused education with non-genetic clinicians can improve confidence and knowledge, enabling a more effective screening program in community health settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 30 2019


  • Access to genetic services
  • BRCA1/2 mutations
  • Cancer genetic services
  • Cancer risk evaluation
  • Genetic education
  • Medically underserved populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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