Patient beliefs and behaviors about genomic risk for type 2 diabetes: Implications for prevention

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Gallagher, Patrick
King, Heather A
Haga, Susanne B
Orlando, Lori A
Joy, Scott V
Trujillo, Gloria M
Scott, William Michael
Bembe, Marylou
Creighton, Dana L
Cho, Alex H

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Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC 2015.Type 2 diabetes is a major health burden in the United States, and population trends suggest this burden will increase. High interest in, and increased availability of, testing for genetic risk of type 2 diabetes presents a new opportunity for reducing type 2 diabetes risk for many patients; however, to date, there is little evidence that genetic testing positively affects type 2 diabetes prevention. Genetic information may not fit patients illness representations, which may reduce the chances of risk-reducing behavior changes. The present study aimed to examine illness representations in a clinical sample who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and interested in genetic testing. The authors used the Common Sense Model to analyze survey responses of 409 patients with type 2 diabetes risk factors. Patients were interested in genetic testing for type 2 diabetes risk and believed in its importance. Most patients believed that genetic factors are important to developing type 2 diabetes (67%), that diet and exercise are effective in preventing type 2 diabetes (95%), and that lifestyle changes are more effective than drugs (86%). Belief in genetic causality was not related to poorer self-reported health behaviors. These results suggest that patients interest in genetic testing for type 2 diabetes might produce a teachable moment that clinicians can use to counsel behavior change.






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Gallagher, Patrick, Heather A King, Susanne B Haga, Lori A Orlando, Scott V Joy, Gloria M Trujillo, William Michael Scott, Marylou Bembe, et al. (2015). Patient beliefs and behaviors about genomic risk for type 2 diabetes: Implications for prevention. Journal of Health Communication, 20(6). pp. 728–735. 10.1080/10810730.2015.1018563 Retrieved from

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Heather Alyse King

Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences

Areas of expertise: Implementation Science, Health Services Research, and Health Measurement


Susanne B Haga

Professor in Medicine

My research interests focus on issues affecting the translation of genomics to clinical practice. Specifically, I have a strong interest in education, with each of my research projects involving some component of professional, public or patient education, including development of educational materials about genomic research in general, pharmacogenetic testing, and communicating genetic test results, in addition to undergraduate teaching in genetics/genomics, ethics, and policy.

Areas of expertise: Bioethics and Health Behavior


Lori Ann Orlando

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Lori A. Orlando, MD MHS MMCI is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Precision Medicine Program in the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine at Duke University. She attended Tulane Medical Center for both medical school (1994-1998) and Internal Medicine residency (1998-2000). There she finished AOA and received a number of awards for teaching and clinical care from the medical school and the residency programs, including the Musser-Burch-Puschett award in 2000 for academic excellence. After completing her residency, she served as Chief Medical Resident in Internal Medicine (2001) and then completed a Health Services Research Fellowship at Duke University Medical Center (2002-2004). In 2004 she also received her MHS from the Clinical Research Training Program at Duke University and joined the academic faculty at Duke. In 2005 she received the Milton W. Hamolsky Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty by the Society of General Internal Medicine. Her major research interests are decision making and patient preferences, implementation research, risk stratification for targeting preventive health services, and decision modeling. From 2004-2009 she worked with Dr. David Matchar in the Center for Clinical Heath Policy Research (CCHPR), where she specialized in decision modeling, decision making, and technology assessments. In 2009 she began working with Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg in what is now the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine (CAGPM) and in 2014 she became the director of the Center’s Precision Medicine Program. Since joining the CAGPM she has been leading the development and implementation of MeTree, a patient-facing family health history based risk assessment and clinical decision support program designed to facilitate the uptake of risk stratified evidence-based guidelines. MeTree was designed to overcome the major barriers to collecting and using high quality family health histories to guide clinical care and has been shown to be highly effective when integrated into primary care practices. This effort started with the Genomic Medicine Model, a multi-institutional project, whose goal was to implement personalized medicine in primary care practices. The success of that project has led to funding as part of NHGRI’s IGNITE (Implementing Genomics in Clinical Practice) network. She is currently testing methods for integrating patient preferences and decision making processes into clinical decision support recommendations for patients and providers to facilitate management of patients’ risk for chronic disease using mHealth and other behavioral interventions.

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