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The 2019 US medical genetics workforce: a focus on clinical genetics

05/05/2021 11:58am
National Coordinating Center for the Regional Genetics Networks (NCC)

This study characterizes the US clinical genetics workforce to inform workforce planning and public policy development.

A 32-question survey was electronically distributed to American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics board-certified/eligible diplomates in 2019. We conducted a descriptive analysis of responses from practicing clinical geneticists.

Of the 491 clinical geneticists responding to the survey, a majority were female (59%) and White (79%), worked in academic medical centers (73%), and many engaged in telemedicine (33%). Clinical geneticists reported an average of 13 new and 10 follow-up patient visits per week. The average work week was 50 hours and the majority (58%) worked over half-time in clinical duties. Providers indicated that 39% of new emergency patients wait 3 days or more, and 39% of nonemergency patients wait over 3 months to be seen. Respondents were geographically concentrated in metropolitan areas and many reported unfilled clinical geneticist job vacancies at their institution of more than 3 years.

With the rapid expansion of genomic medicine in the past decade, there is still a gap between genetics services needed and workforce capacity. A concerted effort is required to increase the number of clinical geneticists and enhance interdisciplinary teamwork to meet increasing patient needs.


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