Genomics knowledge and attitudes among European public health professionals. Results of a cross-sectional survey


Background The international public health (PH) community is debating the opportunity to incorporate genomic technologies into PH practice. A survey was conducted to assess attitudes of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) members towards their role in the implementation of public health genomics (PHG), and their knowledge and attitudes towards genetic testing and the delivery of genetic services. Methods EUPHA members were invited via monthly newsletter and e-mail to take part in an online survey from February 2017 to January 2018. A descriptive analysis of knowledge and attitudes was conducted, along with a univariate and multivariate analysis of their determinants. Results Five hundred and two people completed the questionnaire, 17.9% were involved in PHG activities. Only 28.9% correctly identified all medical conditions for which there is (or not) evidence for implementing genetic testing; over 60% thought that investing in genomics may divert economic resources from social and environmental determinants of health. The majority agreed that PH professionals may play different roles in incorporating genomics into their activities. Better knowledge was associated with positive attitudes towards the use of genetic testing and the delivery of genetic services in PH (OR = 1.48; 95% CI 1.01–2.18). Conclusions Our study revealed quite positive attitudes, but also a need to increase awareness on genomics among European PH professionals. Those directly involved in PHG activities tend to have a more positive attitude and better knowledge; however, gaps are also evident in this group, suggesting the need to harmonize practice and encourage greater exchange of knowledge among professionals

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