Genetics Practice Class: A Useful Educational Method to Enhance the Learning of Medical Students

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Background: The current curriculum of genetics for medical students in the universities of Iran includes basic and clinical materials that are mainly theory-based. The integration of medical genetics into various aspects of medicine and exposing students to the practical and clinical aspects of genetics play a key role in improving the skills of graduated young physicians. Objectives: The present study aimed to evaluate the viewpoints of medical students regarding the practicality of genetics practice classes. Methods: This descriptive study was conducted using a researcher-made questionnaire, which was completed by 72 medical students at Ahvaz Jundishapour University of Medical Sciences in Ahvaz, Iran. The respondents had a genetics practice class (during two-credit course), which was taught in the third semester of basic medical education. The participants were asked about the quality and quantity of the genetics course and teaching methods of the instructor, as well as the practicality of the course. Data analysis was performed in SPSS version 19. Results: The majority of the students (59.7%) believed that the genetics practice class was useful and helped with the better understanding of genetics principles. In addition, 60% of the students stated that the class increased their interest to study and research in medical genetics. In response to the open question, 32% of the students emphasized on teaching more clinical examples by teachers and doing more laboratory tests by students. Conclusions: The practical aspect of medical education is constantly reshaped, and the curricula of medical schools have to encompass new measures to keep up with the high speed of these changes. Each item in the medical genetics education should be accompanied with students’ practical experiences and advanced teaching methods in order to meet the requirements of genetics practice classes and prepare the students for the visitation of genetics patients in hospitals, analysis of laboratory genetic tests, and holding counseling sessions in this regard.