Educational Gaps in Molecular Diagnostics, Genomics, and Personalized Medicine in Dermatopathology Training: A Survey of U.S. Dermatopathology Fellowship Program Directors

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Abstract

Background:

Molecular technologies offer clinicians the tools to provide high-quality, cost-effective patient care. We evaluated education focused on molecular diagnostics, genomics, and personalized medicine in dermatopathology fellowship training.

Design:

A 20-question online survey was emailed to all (n = 53) Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited dermatopathology training programs in the United States.

Results:

Thirty-one of 53 program directors responded (response rate = 58%). Molecular training is undertaken in 74% of responding dermatopathology fellowships, with levels of instruction varying among dermatology-based and pathology-based programs. Education differed for dermatology- and pathology-trained fellows in approximately one-fifth (19%) of programs. Almost half (48%) of responding program directors believe that fellows are not currently receiving adequate molecular education, although the majority (97%) expect to incorporate additional instruction in the next 2–5 years. Factors influencing the incorporation of relevant education include perceived clinical utility and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education/residency review committee (RRC) requirements. Potential benefits of molecular education include increased medical knowledge, improved patient care, and promotion of effective communication with other healthcare professionals. More than two-thirds (68%) of responding program directors believe that instruction in molecular technologies should be required in dermatopathology fellowship training.

Conclusions:

Although all responding dermatopathology fellowship program directors agreed that molecular education is important, only a little over half of survey participants believe that their fellows receive adequate instruction. This represents an important educational gap. Discussion among those who oversee fellow education is necessary to best integrate and evaluate teaching of molecular dermatopathology.

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