Exploring a brief medical improvisational performing arts intervention for genetic counseling graduate students

Weilong Li*, Courtney L. Scherr, Remington B. Fenter, Katie L. Watson, Catherine A. Wicklund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Psychosocial counseling is the foundation of genetic counseling. Genetic counseling students are required to receive in-depth training on psychosocial counseling techniques. In other medical disciplines, “medical improv,” an educational method derived from improvisational theatre, has been used to allow trainees to practice clinical skills without also having to focus on medical knowledge they've not yet mastered. The present study aims to investigate the acceptability of medical improv as an educational tool for genetic counseling students. Fourteen genetic counseling students and new genetic counselors completed a 2-hr medical improv workshop and participated in follow-up interviews to discuss the workshop. Participants’ responses to the intervention were positive, with 92.9% of participants responding that they would recommend medical improv training to other genetic counseling students. Participants described the medical improv workshop as helping build psychosocial skills in a safe environment, which may facilitate the use of more advanced counseling skills in clinical situations. By training students to practice psychosocial skills and building students’ confidence, medical improv may help genetic counseling students and genetic counselors be more effective in challenging clinical situations, and to feel more comfortable in experimenting with new ideas and psychosocial techniques in their clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1193-1205
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • curriculum
  • education
  • genetic counseling students
  • medical improv
  • patient-centered communication
  • psychosocial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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