Overview: Introduction to Clinical Decision Making
The Purpose of the course, Introduction to Clinical Decision Making is to
understand how social, behavioral, ethical, legal, environmental, and genetic
factors and related policy influence the health of individuals, families,
communities, and populations. This requires knowledge of the independent
concepts and analytic methods of each of the three disciplines as well as
knowledge of how the interface of the fields affects clinical decision-making.
At the completion of the course, the student should be able to:
1. Discuss concepts of professionalism, including privilege, responsibility,
2. Discuss basic principles and concepts of ethics
3. Discuss several methods of ethical decision-making
4. Discuss the basic mechanisms of human genetics.
5. Explain the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to caring for
individuals and families with genetic disease.
6. Describe how public health principles, practice and policy influence the
health of individuals and populations.
7. Discuss methods of statistics and epidemiology used in clinical research
8. Explain the importance of interaction of the medical community with the
broader community in understanding ethical, genetic, and epidemiologic
9. Discuss the complexity of educational, social and cultural issues
surrounding the evolving practice of medicine.
10. Discuss the need to approach health care with an understanding of the
interaction of the beliefs and values of individuals, families, communities,
Introduction to Clinical Decision Making is a two-week course to introduce
students to the basic vocabulary, concepts, and methods of human and
population genetics, epidemiology, statistics, public health, and ethics.
Knowledge from each discipline is presented in lecture and readings, with
methods and integrated concepts presented through small group case
discussions. Students are expected to access information from in-class
discussions, textbook and journal readings, and Internet sources.
Activities are organized into modules to support three key concepts:
1. Accessing information
a. Genetic resources on the Internet
b. Biases in the development and dissemination of information
c. Interpretation of scientific papers
2. Clinical Decision-making
a. Genetic testing
b. Epidemiologic and statistical methods
c. Principles and concepts of Ethics
3. Individual, Family, and Population perspectives
a. Newborn screening
b. Breast cancer screening