Workforce and Education

Program 4 – Workforce and Education

As genomic medicine integrates into mainstream healthcare, issues around workforce capability and education arise. The healthcare system requires professionals equipped to identify and refer or request patients for genomic testing.

Are education providers, including universities, able to meet the demands for this new knowledge and skills?

Are they providing relevant and accessible training in genomic medicine?

The Genomics Workforce and Education program investigates these issues.


A/Prof Clara Gaff
Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance & Australian Genomics

Honorary Prof Sylvia Metcalfe
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Working group

Ms Kate Dunlop
Centre for Genetics Education, NSW Health

Dr Debra Graves
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia

Ms Bronwyn Terrill
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Dr Belinda McClaren
Australian Genomics, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Dr Amy Nisselle
Australian Genomics, Melbourne Genomics, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Research Assistants

Chriselle Hickerton
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Emily King
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Nadia Kaunein
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Brigitte (Marie) Cusack
Centre for Genetics Education, NSW Health

Student base

Erin Crellin
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Fiona Lynch
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Lucien Sankey
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Alice Kim
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & The University of Melbourne

Mapping the current education landscape

In order to understand the current landscape of Australian genomics education we mapped education activities in genomics available in 2016 then interviewed education providers through 2017.

Genomic education programs appeared to have been developed in response to local health care system needs and new technology, rather than as part of a strategic approach to genetic or genomic education.

Many activities were developed by people without an education qualification and few were based on formal needs assessments or evaluated to determine quality and/or effectiveness.

Understanding current and future clinical practice and training

Multiple, intersecting projects are being conducted to understand the current clinical practice and training for different disciplines and healthcare settings, and the needs and preferences for future genomic service delivery models and training.

Professional groups include clinical geneticists, genetic counsellors, non-genetic medical specialists, general practitioners, community practitioners (e.g., pharmacists, nutritionists, dieticians, and naturopaths), medical scientists, education providers and system influencers.

We are also investigating the experience of patients and families who have genomic tests to inform service delivery models and health professional training.

Effective Genomic Education

Education and training of both health professionals and the public is recognised as necessary for the successful implementation of genomic medicine into healthcare.

People responsible for genomics education need tools that support program development (a ‘program logic model’) and evaluation of the effectiveness of the program (‘evaluation framework’).

The aim of this project is to develop a flexible genomics education program logic model and evaluation framework, fostering delivery and evaluation of good education programs to identify effective education approaches.

A draft program logic model was reviewed by Australian and international experts and is now being tested in local contexts globally. Development of the evaluation framework is underway.

Community Engagement

The Australian public needs the right information to be able to make informed decisions about whether to have genomic tests. Our community engagement project seeks to understand community issues, values, attitudes and expectations relating to genomic medicine to develop evidence-based, targeted and effective communication and community engagement.

Genomics Education Network of Australasia

Australian Genomics has formed Genomics Education Network of Australasia (GENA), in mid-2018 to foster a community of evidence-based practice and share experiences, tools and exemplars of health professional genomics education and evaluation.

To register your interest in joining the Network please email