Publications by authors named "Robin E Grubs"

15 Publications

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Impact of hereditary pancreatitis on patients and their families.

J Genet Couns 2020 12 5;29(6):971-982. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Hereditary pancreatitis (HP), a highly penetrant (~80%) autosomal dominant disease associated with PRSS1 variants, causes acute pancreatitis in childhood and chronic pancreatitis by early adulthood. Other clinical features include pain, diabetes, and risk of pancreatic cancer. HP kindreds were prospectively recruited from 1995 to 2015. At enrollment, study participants completed medical and family history questionnaires, and provided samples for genotyping. Participants were recontacted between 2015 and 2017 and asked to complete a survey on concerns and experiences related to HP, PRSS1 testing, and genetic counseling. Data were analyzed with descriptive and thematic methods. Thirty-nine affected participants with HP and 21 unaffected family members completed the survey. Among unaffected family members, 'worry' and 'helplessness' were frequently described as the most difficult problem in their family because of HP, particularly with regard to pain. Three participants described the impact of drug addiction on their family. 'School or work limitations' was the leading financial concern, with 65.5% (36/55) rating it as 'moderately' or 'extremely important.' Unexpectedly, only 62% (21/34) of affected PRSS1 carriers believed the chance for a parent to pass HP to his or her children was 50%, whereas 18% (6/34) believed the chance was 100%. The impact of HP on individuals and families varied, which may reflect the highly unpredictable nature of HP severity and outcomes. Based on current and previously reported findings, an overview of important issues for genetic counselors to consider for counseling HP families is included.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgc4.1221DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7747647PMC
December 2020

Knowledge and opinions regarding BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing among primary care physicians.

J Genet Couns 2020 02 14;29(1):122-130. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Center for Clinical Genetics and Genomics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) testing is standard for individuals with personal and/or family history suggestive of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. The indications for testing have been expanding. To accommodate the need, incorporation of cancer genetic services into the practice of non-genetic healthcare providers should be considered. We carried out a survey to evaluate the knowledge and opinions regarding BRCA1/2 testing among primary care providers. The survey was sent to 245 Obstetrics/Gynecology and 97 Family Medicine physicians in the UPMC network. Eighty-six completed the survey between July 2015 and September 2015. The average correct responses to knowledge questions was 73%. A few respondents reported being completely confident, and ~50% reported being somewhat confident, in providing BRCA1/2-related information. Respondents selected genetic specialists and oncologists as the most qualified to provide cancer genetic services. Several perceived barriers and motivating factors to the implementation of BRCA1/2 testing in primary care were identified. The findings from this study suggested that primary care providers were not uniformly ready to provide BRCA1/2 genetic testing. Availability of professional society guidelines and evidence of testing's usefulness might motivate the incorporation of BRCA1/2 genetic testing into primary care practices. These findings would help guide future educational efforts to promote provision of cancer genetic services by non-genetic professionals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgc4.1189DOI Listing
February 2020

The impact of genetic counseling on patient engagement in a specialty cancer clinic.

J Genet Couns 2019 10 11;28(5):974-981. Epub 2019 Jul 11.

Department of Medicine, The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The identification of patient outcomes unique to the field of genetic counseling has become a recent priority of the profession. Current health-care efforts have targeted patient engagement as an outcome capable of improving population health and reducing health-care costs. This study analyzed patient engagement levels among 182 participants who underwent genetic counseling for gastrointestinal (GI) cancer risk assessment in an outpatient specialty clinic. Patients seen at the UPMC Hereditary GI Tumor Program completed a validated patient engagement measure, the Altarum Consumer Engagement (ACE), prior to undergoing genetic counseling and again three months after enrollment. Paired t test analysis was conducted to assess the changes in Total ACE scores, and within the following three domains: Navigation, Informed Choice, and Commitment. In the sample of 182 participants, Total ACE scores increased after genetic counseling (by 5.7%; p < .0001), as did all three domains (Commitment p = .0008; Navigation p = .0008; and Informed Choice p = .0016). This study is the first known report of patient engagement levels in individuals undergoing genetic counseling in a specialty cancer clinic and suggests that genetic counseling improves patient engagement levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgc4.1149DOI Listing
October 2019

Genetic counselor training for the next generation: Where do we go from here?

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet 2018 03 7;178(1):38-45. Epub 2018 Mar 7.

Department of Global Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.c.31598DOI Listing
March 2018

2013 Review and Update of the Genetic Counseling Practice Based Competencies by a Task Force of the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling.

J Genet Couns 2016 10 23;25(5):868-79. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

The first practice based competencies (PBCs) for the field of genetic counseling were adopted by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC), 1996. Since that time, there has been significant growth in established and new work settings (clinical and non-clinical) and changes in service delivery models and the roles of genetic counselors. These changes prompted the ABGC to appoint a PBC Task Force in 2011 to review the PBCs with respect to their current relevance and to revise and update them as necessary. There are four domains in the revised PBCs: (I) Genetics Expertise and Analysis (II) Interpersonal, Psychosocial and Counseling Skills (III) Education and (IV) Professional Development and Practice. There are 22 competencies, each clarified with learning objectives or samples of activities and skills; a glossary is included. New competencies were added that address genomics, genetic testing and genetic counselors' roles in risk assessment, education, supervision, conducting research and presenting research options to patients. With PBCs serving as the pre-defined abilities or outcomes of training, graduating genetic counselors will be well prepared to enter the field with a minimum level of skills and abilities. A description of the Task Force's work, key changes and the 2013 PBCs are presented herein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-016-9984-3DOI Listing
October 2016

Analysis of Advantages, Limitations, and Barriers of Genetic Counseling Service Delivery Models.

J Genet Couns 2016 10 14;25(5):1010-8. Epub 2016 Jan 14.

Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Previous studies on genetic counseling service delivery models (SDMs) have shown that genetic counselors (GCs) are incorporating alternate models to address growing service demand and improve access to genetic services. This study sought to identify barriers, limitations and advantages to previously identified genetic counseling SDMs. A qualitative research design was employed, in which 20 practicing GCs who utilize a variety of SDMs were interviewed using an email interview format. Interview transcripts were analyzed using a thematic analysis to identify themes related to implementation and utilization of SDMs. Factors that led GCs to implement SDMs other than in-person genetic counseling included: 1) travel distance, 2) wait time and 3) convenience. Logistical issues such as billing and reimbursement, equipment set up, making arrangements for genetic testing and the inability to see the patient are major limitations to alternative genetic counseling SDMs in clinical practice. However, GCs interviewed stated that the convenience to the patient and genetic counselor of alternative SDMs outweighed these limitations. More research is needed to assess the outcomes of SDMs in practice to demonstrate an impact on the identified barriers of travel distance, wait time and convenience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-016-9932-2DOI Listing
October 2016

Sickle Cell Trait Screening of Collegiate Athletes: Ethical Reasons for Program Reform.

J Genet Couns 2015 Dec 5;24(6):873-7. Epub 2015 Jun 5.

Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires all student-athletes have their sickle cell trait (SCT) status confirmed prior to athletic participation. The NCAA approved the screening program in 2010 for institutions participating in Division I athletics and extended it in subsequent years to institutions at Division II and III levels. Ethical concerns about the controversial policy focus on its mandatory nature and potential impact on student-athletes, particularly through stigmatization of and discrimination against those with SCT. Organizations, such as the American Society of Hematology (ASH), oppose the imposition of SCT testing and instead recommend universal precautions that would protect the entire student-athlete population without revealing student-athletes' SCT statuses. This paper discusses these issues and offers recommendations, including genetic counseling, which would improve the current SCT screening program. It argues that implementation of universal precautions would ensure that the most ethically sound practices are afforded to every student-athlete.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-015-9849-1DOI Listing
December 2015

Using a family history intervention to improve cancer risk perception in a black community.

J Genet Couns 2011 Dec 20;20(6):639-49. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Department of Clinical Genetics, The Permanente Medical Group, San Jose, CA 95123, USA.

Few studies examine the use of family history to influence risk perceptions in the African American population. This study examined the influence of a family health history (FHH) intervention on risk perceptions for breast (BRCA), colon (CRC), and prostate cancers (PRCA) among African Americans in Pittsburgh, PA. Participants (n = 665) completed pre- and post-surveys and FHHs. We compared their objective and perceived risks, classified as average, moderate, or high, and examined the accuracy of risk perceptions before and after the FHH intervention. The majority of participants had accurate risk perceptions post-FHH. Of those participants who were inaccurate pre-FHH, 43.3%, 43.8%, and 34.5% for BRCA, CRC, and PRCA, respectively, adopted accurate risk perceptions post-FHH intervention. The intervention was successful in a community setting. It has the potential to lead to healthy behavior modifications because participants adopted accurate risk perceptions. We identified a substantial number of at-risk individuals who could benefit from targeted prevention strategies, thus decreasing racial/ethnic cancer disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-011-9389-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4335264PMC
December 2011

Attitudes and beliefs of African-Americans toward genetics, genetic testing, and sickle cell disease education and awareness.

J Genet Couns 2011 Dec 12;20(6):572-92. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Research among African-Americans indicates this population perceives sickle cell (SCD) to be a serious disease and sickle cell trait (SCT) screening an important intervention. However, studies have consistently demonstrated a lower than desired uptake of SCD education, inadequate knowledge regarding personal and family trait status, and a low perceived susceptibility of giving birth to a child with the disease. We examined general attitudes and beliefs regarding genetics and genetic testing including prenatal testing and newborn screening; we used this information as the foundation to more specifically assess attitudes and beliefs regarding SCD and perceived barriers to SCD education and awareness. Thirty-five African-American adult men and women participated in one of four focus groups. Thematic analysis identified that both prenatal testing and newborn screening are acceptable forms of genetic testing. Based largely on their personal experiences, participants possessed an understanding of the natural progression of SCD but had a limited understanding of the inheritance and probable risk of giving birth to a child with the disease. Barriers to education and greater awareness of SCD were classified as personal, familial, and societal. Community based interventions focused on sharing the stories of individuals with first-hand experiences with SCD should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-011-9388-3DOI Listing
December 2011

Revisiting the recurrence risk of nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate.

Am J Med Genet A 2010 Nov;152A(11):2697-702

Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Sub-epithelial defects (i.e., discontinuities) of the superior orbicularis oris (OO) muscle appear to be a part of the phenotypic spectrum of cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL ± P). Analysis of the OO phenotype as a clinical tool is hypothesized to improve familial recurrence risk estimates of CL ± P. Study subjects (n = 3,912) were drawn from 835 families. Occurrences of CL ± P were compared in families with and without members with an OO defect. Empiric recurrence risks were calculated for CL ± P and OO defects among first-degree relatives (FDRs). Risks were compared to published data and/or to other outcomes of this study using chi-square or Fisher's exact tests. In our cohort, the occurrence of CL ± P was significantly increased in families with OO defects versus those without (P < 0.01, OR = 1.74). The total FDR recurrence of isolated OO defects in this cohort is 16.4%; the sibling recurrence is 17.2%. The chance for one or more FDRs of a CL ± P proband to have an OO defect is 11.4%; or 14.7% for a sibling. Conversely, the chance for any FDR of an individual with an OO defect to have CL ± P is 7.3%; or for a sibling, 3.3%; similar to published recurrence risk estimates of nonsyndromic (NS) CL ± P. This study supports sub-epithelial OO muscle defects as being part of the CL ± P spectrum and suggests a modification to recurrence risk estimates of CL ± P by utilizing OO defect information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.33695DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2965308PMC
November 2010

Grounded theory in genetic counseling research: an interpretive perspective.

J Genet Couns 2010 Apr 2;19(2):99-111. Epub 2010 Feb 2.

Department of Human Genetics, The University of Pittsburgh, A300 Crabtree Hall, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.

As qualitative inquiry has gained wider acceptance in genetic counseling research, it has become increasingly important for researchers and those who evaluate their work to recognize the diversity of methods that fall under this broad umbrella. Some of these methods adhere to the traditional conventions of scientific research (e.g., objectivity, reliability, validity, replicability, causality and generalizability). When such studies are evaluated by reviewers who are well versed in scientific methods, the rigor of the study may be readily apparent. However, when researchers are using methods that do not conform to traditional scientific conventions, the distinction between well conducted and poorly conducted studies may become more difficult to discern. This article focuses on grounded theory because it is a widely used qualitative method. We highlight key components of this method in order to contrast conventions that fall within a scientific paradigm to those that fall within an interpretivist paradigm. The intent is to illustrate how the conventions within these two different paradigms yield different types of knowledge claims--both of which can advance genetic counseling theory and practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-009-9270-8DOI Listing
April 2010

The effect of BRCA gene testing on family relationships: A thematic analysis of qualitative interviews.

J Genet Couns 2009 Oct 29;18(5):418-35. Epub 2009 May 29.

Centenary Site, Rouge Valley Health System, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Discovery of mutations in the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 can have emotional consequences for both the tested individual and his or her relatives. This secondary analysis study investigated how BRCA testing impacts family dynamics and relationships. For the original study, a grounded theory inquiry, participants were recruited from a hereditary breast/ovarian cancer syndrome support website and open-ended interviews were performed asking about individual and family experiences after BRCA testing. All 12 participants whose interviews were included in the secondary analysis had a BRCA mutation. For the secondary analysis, thematic analysis was conducted and revealed three main themes characterizing the effect of BRCA testing on family relationships: 1. That the first in the family to have testing or seek genetic counseling takes on a special family role that can be difficult for them; 2. That discussions in the family often change; and 3. That individuals may feel more or less connected to certain family members. These changes seemed to relate to family cancer history, relationships, coping strategies, communication patterns, and mutation status. Genetic counselors might find it useful to explore these issues in order to prepare clients before BRCA testing and to support them through shifts in family dynamics after disclosure of results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-009-9232-1DOI Listing
October 2009

Genetic counseling practice analysis.

J Genet Couns 2009 Jun 11;18(3):205-16. Epub 2009 Mar 11.

American Board of Genetic Counseling, Olathe, KS, USA.

The American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) performed a genetic counseling practice analysis (PA) to determine the content of the certification examination. The ABGC-appointed PA Advisory Committee worked with psychometricians to develop a survey which was distributed to 2,038 genetic counselors in the United States and Canada. The survey was also accessible on the ABGC website. Multiple criteria were used to establish the significance of the tasks included in the survey. A total of 677 responses were used in the analysis, representing a 37.1% corrected response rate. Five major content domains with 143 tasks were identified in the PA. New certification test specifications were developed on the basis of PA results and will be used in developing future examination forms. In keeping with credentialing standards, ABGC plans to conduct a PA on a regular basis so that the content of the examination reflects current practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-009-9216-1DOI Listing
June 2009

A qualitative description of receiving a diagnosis of clefting in the prenatal or postnatal period.

J Genet Couns 2008 Aug 15;17(4):336-50. Epub 2008 May 15.

Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA.

This study investigated the experience of receiving a diagnosis of clefting in the prenatal or postnatal period. Open-ended interviews were conducted with 20 parents of children with cleft lip with or without cleft palate. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a qualitative descriptive approach with an emphasis on thematic analysis. Common themes emerged from participants' responses regarding the delivery of the diagnosis, preparation for the birth of their child, advantages and disadvantages of prenatal diagnosis, use of the Internet, views on abortion and genetic testing, among other issues. All participants in the prenatal group indicated they were satisfied they learned of the cleft before the birth of their child. Some participants in the postnatal group would rather have received the diagnosis prenatally, while others were content with learning of the diagnosis in the delivery room. Greater awareness of the parental experience of the timing of receiving a cleft diagnosis may assist health care professionals in providing care for these families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-008-9152-5DOI Listing
August 2008

The use of family health histories to address health disparities in an African American community.

Health Promot Pract 2007 Oct 24;8(4):350-7. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, USA.

African Americans continue to suffer from health disparities. The Center for Minority Health (CMH) within the University of Pittsburgh has the mission to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. CMH has designed and implemented the Family Health History (FHH) Initiative. The FHH Initiative places genetic-counseling graduate students in the African American community to provide risk assessments and emphasize the importance of family history as it pertains to disease prevention. The FHH Initiative also allows participants to enroll into the Minority Research Recruitment Database (MRRD). This enables CMH to alert individuals to available research participation opportunities. In the first year of this program, 225 African Americans completed their family health histories. More than 60% of individuals enrolled in the MRRD. The authors report their initial successes and challenges of an initiative that incorporates awareness of family history information, proper screening guidelines, behavior-modification recommendations, and support for participation in clinical research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1524839906293395DOI Listing
October 2007