Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Genetic Counseling

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Myla Ashfaq

Committee Member

Brittanie Morris

Committee Member

Aranza Gonzalez Cendejas

Committee Member

David Rodriguez-Buritica

Committee Member

Barbara Harrison

Committee Member

Debra Murray


Racial and ethnic minority patients in the United States undoubtedly suffer from inequalities in healthcare. While some studies have explored these inequalities in the field of genetic counseling specifically, research relating to genetic counseling outcomes in diverse patient populations is still limited. With the number of non-Hispanic White individuals in the United States projected to decrease by 20 million by 2060, it becomes imperative to better understand the experiences of racial and ethnic minority patients to meet their needs. Therefore, this study aimed to further describe the experiences of racial and ethnic minority patients who received genetic counseling services. In addition to investigating factors such as satisfaction and trust, this study set out to explore whether racial/ethnic concordance between patients and genetic counselors had an impact on the overall experience of patients with genetic counseling. Patients were recruited by genetic counselors at different clinics across Houston, TX. Seventeen participants completed telephone interviews. Open-ended responses to the interview questions were transcribed and analyzed by the principal investigator using inductive analysis. Overall, all participants had a positive experience with genetic counseling. Most participants expressed they trusted the genetic counselor (n=14), due to the knowledge and positive traits (e.g., patient, open, caring) exhibited by the provider. Additionally, most believed the genetic counselor was prepared to see a patient from their racial/ethnic background (n=15), either due to the training genetic counselors receive or due to race/ethnicity not being a factor at play. While racial/ethnic concordance between patient and genetic counselor did not seem to directly affect participants’ experiences, some participants identified benefits of having a concordant healthcare provider, including their ability to relate and understand more (n=5). This highlights the importance of cultural competence and cultural humility training for genetic counselors and provides additional evidence for diversifying the field.


genetic counseling, diversity, minority, racial concordance, patient experience

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