Background: Genome cohort studies are used to analyze interactions between genetic and environmental factors, providing valuable information for personalized healthcare. Large-scale and long-term cohort studies require a number of specially trained personnel, of whom those involved in obtaining informed consent play a vital role, especially during the initial phase of such studies. The Japanese Society of Human Genetics (JSHG) previously established a certification system for genome medical research coordinators (GMRCs) responsible for obtaining written consent via face-to-face explanation. Meanwhile, in the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo), GMRCs are expected to play important roles not only in obtaining informed consent and conducting various assessments, but also in communicating with participants throughout the long-term follow-up. Based on the JSHG program, we therefore developed a specific education and training program for ToMMo GMRCs consisting of 17 lectures, one practical training session on the informed consent procedure, and written and interview examinations. Re-education workshops aimed at self-improvement are also carried out following certification. In this study, we evaluated the education and training program in terms of overall understanding, usefulness, and satisfaction using an anonymous questionnaire. Methods: An anonymous questionnaire addressing each aspect of the education and training program (understanding, usefulness, and satisfaction) was distributed among 152 qualified ToMMo GMRCs. Responses were received from 94 participants (61.8%). Results: There was a significant association between the level of overall understanding of lectures and medical qualification (nurse or clinical laboratory technologist), but not with age or educational background. The level of understanding and overall usefulness were lower in sessions related to genetics and epidemiology than those dealing with ToMMo practices. In the re-education workshops, GMRCs showed a preference for and hoped to learn more about both background knowledge and research progress in the ToMMo. Conclusions: The results of our questionnaire suggest that not all ToMMo GMRCs are able to understand everything during the initial education and training program, especially in terms of genomic medicine. Continuous re-education is therefore vital in improving knowledge, skills and motivation, and preparing GMRCs for a specialist role in community-based personalized healthcare.
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