Genetic counseling for Indigenous Australians: an exploratory study from the perspective of genetic health professionals

Kowal, Emma, Gallacher, Lyndon, Macciocca, Ivan and Sahhar, Margaret 2015, Genetic counseling for Indigenous Australians: an exploratory study from the perspective of genetic health professionals, Journal of genetic counseling, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 597-607, doi: 10.1007/s10897-014-9782-8.

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Title Genetic counseling for Indigenous Australians: an exploratory study from the perspective of genetic health professionals
Author(s) Kowal, EmmaORCID iD for Kowal, Emma
Gallacher, Lyndon
Macciocca, Ivan
Sahhar, Margaret
Journal name Journal of genetic counseling
Volume number 24
Issue number 4
Start page 597
End page 607
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2015-08
ISSN 1573-3599
Keyword(s) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Cultural competence
Genetic counseling
Genetic health services
Indigenous Australians
Summary Indigenous populations are thought to have particularly low levels of access to genetic health services, and cultural issues may be a contributing factor. This article presents the findings of the first study of genetic health service provision to Indigenous Australians. This qualitative study aimed to identify elements of culturally-competent genetic health service provision in Indigenous Australian contexts. Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with genetic counselors and clinical geneticists from around Australia who had delivered services to Indigenous Australians. Participants were asked to describe their experiences and identify any collective cultural needs of Indigenous clients, as well as comment on specific training and resources they had received or used. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed with thematic analysis conducted on the data. The findings show that participants were reluctant to generalize the needs of Indigenous peoples. Some participants asserted that Indigenous peoples have needs that differ from the general population, while others felt that there were no collective cultural needs, instead advocating an individualized approach. Being flexible and practical, taking time to build rapport, recognizing different family structures and decision-making processes, as well as socio-economic disadvantage were all identified as important factors in participants' interactions with Indigenous clients. Indigenous support workers and hospital liaison officers were seen as valuable resources for effective service provision. The implications of this study for training and practice are discussed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10897-014-9782-8
Indigenous content on
Field of Research 060401 Anthropological Genetics
160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology
160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society
Socio Economic Objective 920302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Grant ID ARC DE120100394
Copyright notice ©2014, Springer
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation
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