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Genetic Counseling Cultural Competence Toolkit Cases

Course Objectives

After participating in Genetic Counseling Cultural Competence Toolkit Cases, participants will be able to:

  • Identify resources for increasing their cultural knowledge.
  • Know how to apply cultural assessment tools in genetic counseling practice.
  • Engage in cultural self-awareness, resulting in increased recognition of personal biases, limitations, and strengths when working with culturally diverse clients.

Course Format

This is a self-paced independent study online learning opportunity. The complete course is composed of 9 cases that were developed as part of a website and resource portal on cultural and linguistic competence for the genetic counseling profession. Each case focuses on a major topic in cultural and linguistic diversity, and often addresses several subtopics. Of particular interest to students and other health care professionals who want to learn more about the profession, each case is grounded in one or more “steps” of the genetic counseling process. Participants will generally complete all 9 cases, but if preferred, learners can choose to register for selected cases.

All completed learning must be documented. Participants answer at least 10 multiple choice assessment questions for each 60 minutes of learning. The participant submits his/her answers to the questions for each case to the course coordinator for grading, and a score will be provided for all completed cases. A score of 80% or greater on the assessment questions is required for that case to be included in the approved total to earn CEUs or a Learning Certificate.

Case Titles, Presenters and Learning Objectives

  1. Case Title: Case Preparation: Genetic Counseling a Prenatal Patient with Intellectual Disabilities
    Learning Objectives:
    • Discuss how reproductive options, decision making, or genetic testing may be influenced by the presence of mild intellectual disability in a genetic counseling client.
    • Determine the relative importance of steps in the genetic counseling process when working with an adult with mild intellectual disability.
    • Identify online and community resources that contribute to case preparatory work when providing genetic counseling to adults with mild intellectual disability.
  2. Case Title: Contracting: Genetic Counseling with Medical Interpreters
    Learning Objectives:
    • Determine when patients need interpreter services and how to obtain those services.
    • Differentiate between the roles of the traditional interpreter and the cultural broker.
    • List strategies for effective contracting with a medical interpreter before a genetic counseling session.
  3. Case Title: Eliciting Medical History: Genetic Counseling a Prisoner
    Learning Objectives:
    • Describe health disparities related to prisoners and the prison environment.
    • Recognize the sociological, social psychological and psychopathological variables linked to criminal behavior.
    • Explain the laws and policies regarding medical treatment in jails and prisons and acknowledge that regulations may differ between jurisdictions.
    • Describe strategies for building patient trust and eliciting medical history for individuals belonging to vulnerable populations, such as inmates.
  4. Case Title: Pedigree and Family History: Genetic Counseling a Lesbian Couple
    Learning Objectives:
    • Acknowledge personal perspectives towards gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) persons.
    • Discuss the emotional, psychological, and legal barriers facing GLBT persons.
    • Use culturally appropriate language when taking a family history and counseling GLBT persons.
  5. Case Title: Risk Assessment/Inheritance/Counseling and Deaf Culture
    Learning Objectives:
    • Discuss the meaning of disability referring to the pathological and medical models.
    • Identify four main types of nonverbal communication and their impact on the overall communication process.
    • Define incidental learning and explain its relevance to genetic counseling.
    • Explain how to use the PRACTICE mnemonic in genetic counseling.
  6. Case Title: Discuss Diagnosis and Natural History: Genetic Counseling Somali Refugees
    Learning Objectives:
    • Summarize the challenges faced by refugees prior to and after arriving in the U.S.
    • List the characteristics of health care provision that convey respect for Somali culture.
    • When discussing diagnosis and natural history, apply the mnemonic device, ETHNIC, to understand how culture may affect a patient’s treatment.
  7. Case Title: Testing Options, Interpretation, and Results: Spirituality and Religion in the Genetic Counseling Setting
    Learning Objectives:
    • Explain the steps involved in testing options, interpretations and results discussion.
    • Elicit and interpret individual and family experience, behaviors, emotions, perceptions and values that may clarify clients’ religious and spiritual beliefs and values.
    • Increase awareness of factors that contribute to decision making in genetic counseling settings.
    • Incorporate assessment and discussion of religion and spirituality in genetic counseling sessions.
    • Facilitate decision making in an unbiased, non-coercive manner.
  8. Case Title: Psychosocial Assessment, Support, and Counseling: Genetic Counseling an Asian American Couple
    Learning Objectives:
    • Establish rapport, identify major concerns and respond to emerging issues of a client or family in a culturally responsive manner.
    • Elicit and interpret individual and family experiences, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and attitudes that clarify beliefs and values.
    • Use a range of interviewing techniques.
    • Provide short term client centered counseling and client support.
    • Promote decision making in an unbiased, non-coercive manner.
  9. Case Title: Resources/Referral/Follow Up: Health Literacy in the Research Genetic Counseling Setting
    Learning Objectives:
    • Discuss three ways to address the needs of research participants with limited English proficiency or low health literacy.
    • Identify three factors that contribute to health disparities experienced by immigrants.
    • Know where to obtain professional recommendations about counseling consanguineous couples.
    • Identify five characteristics of patient education materials written in “plain language.”

Feedback From Genetic Counselors

"Thanks for the interesting learning opportunity! I enjoyed it."

"Incidentally, this course was FANTASTIC."

"This is actually one on-line learning that I'm looking forward to!"

"I find the entire toolkit interesting, especially the case examples are extremely interesting and the literature
provided is extremely helpful and interesting."

"Thank you for this wonderful learning opportunity! I will encourage my colleagues to enroll."

"I found this learning opportunity to be highly informative and personally challenging!"

"Thank you for the time and effort put into developing the cultural competence toolkit. It was most educational and enjoyable."

"Thanks...Excellent course by the way!!"

"Thanks for all of your work in putting together these cases! A number of the cases were thought provoking and I enjoyed going through it."

Registration Information and Fees

This course is offered by Genetic Counseling Toolkit LLC, Cincinnati, OH. A variety of registration options for genetic counselors, students and other health care professionals are available for obtaining Category 1 CEUs, or a Learning Certificate. The full 9 case course fee is $200, plus the required $25 CEU fee. The fee for a Learning Certificate is $50. Additional pricing options are available for registering for select cases only. For further information and to register, see

Accessing the Course

The course can be accessed from and clicking on the Cases tab. Participants who wish to earn Category 1 CEUs or a Learning Certificate should register by clicking on the CEUs tab. Registrants will have one year to complete and pass the quizzes to earn Category 1 CEUs or a Learning Certificate.


NSGC has approved this program for up to 1.44 CEUs or 14.43 contact hours for this program through 02/01/2025. CEUs earned through this program will be accepted by ABGC as Category 1 CEUs for purposes of certification and recertification.

Course Coordinator

Genetic Counseling Toolkit, LLC
Nancy Steinberg Warren, MS, CGC
Cincinnati, OH

This work has been supported by the Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship, the 2009 grant from the Engelberg Foundation to the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.