International exchange training in genetic counseling: An exploration of the value in exchange experiences

Chelsea K A Alexander, Patricia McCarthy Veach, Fengqin Lian, Bonnie S. Leroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


International exchange training in genetic counseling is increasing, but research examining these experiences is lacking. In this study 309 genetic counseling students and genetic counselors completed an anonymous survey investigating six major research questions: (1) How prevalent are international genetic counseling experiences? (2) What types are pursued and why? (3) What supports and barriers exist? 3) What are the demographic characteristics of individuals accruing international experience? (5) Does international experience promote professional development? and (6) Do genetic counseling students and professionals perceive international experiences as beneficial? Most respondents were Caucasian females born in one of 25 countries. The most prevalent experiences involved either clinical observation or clinical training. Common motivations for pursuing international experience were personal growth, exposure to a different healthcare system, and travel opportunities. Outcomes included professionally-relevant experience and personal growth. Barriers included finances, limited availability of opportunities, and for those without international experience, family responsibilities. Additional findings, practice and training implications, and research recommendations are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-720
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Experiential learning
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic counselor education
  • International exchange
  • Multicultural competence
  • Professional development


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