Consumer Genetics


Preventive genetic testing is booming: in the coming years tens of millions of people will have access to their genetic profile. The current job of the health coach  is expected to evolve into a Personalised Prevention Counselor with more emphasis on personalised health-related advice, derived from genetic data. This professional module aims to address current educational gaps to facilitate such a transition.

Our goal is to develop a new educational programme to train the health coach of the future, which we call the ‘Personalised Prevention Counsellor’ (PPCs). The focus of the training will be to teach learners the knowledge and skills that are necessary to assist clients in undergoing preventive genetic testing (PGT). This involves pre-test assistance helping consumers make an informed decision of whether or not they want to undergo PGT. At post-test the PPC is expected to help the consumer to interpret their results, translate it into fitting behaviour change strategies and to assist in initiation and long term maintenance of healthier lifestyles. As a result of this course the learner should be able to independently function as a PPC in PGT.

The project will start with an analysis of end-user needs to determine methodologies and technologies to be used. After development of the content, the course will be pilot-tested in series of short iterative cycles of designing, testing with end-users, and redesigning. By the end of 2019 a first version of the full course will be available. We intend to re-apply for 2020 for further development and dissemination.

This course is aimed at (future) professionals with an interest in healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. Examples include, but not limited to, genetic counsellors, nutritionists, exercise therapists, general practitioners, medical specialists, or health coaches. We assume a prior level of basic knowledge of health and disease and critical thinking, comparable with a BSc level.