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Houseofficers' reactions to media coverage about the sequencing of the human genome


  • Geller, Gail
  • Tambor, Ellen S.
  • Bernhardt, Barbara A.
  • Rodgers, Joann
  • Holtzman, Neil A.


After the announcement that sequencing of the human genome was nearly complete, media coverage was extensive. In light of ample evidence that the media are a primary source of health and science information, even for health professionals, media portrayals are often inaccurate or misleading, and discoveries that emanate from sequencing the human genome are likely to influence future health care, it is important to assess physicians' interpretations of media coverage about the human genome announcement. This paper describes the reactions of a sample of new physicians in the United States to this announcement, as well as the content of the stories they read or heard. Semi-structured surveys were distributed to all incoming houseofficers during Orientation at one major academic medical center. Eighty-one percent of 190 houseofficers returned a survey; 123 completed surveys were analyzed. Fifty-four percent of respondents thought the media message was only positive and 21% thought it was negative or mixed. Participants who reported radio as their media source were less likely to recall positive messages (p

Suggested Citation

  • Geller, Gail & Tambor, Ellen S. & Bernhardt, Barbara A. & Rodgers, Joann & Holtzman, Neil A., 2003. "Houseofficers' reactions to media coverage about the sequencing of the human genome," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(10), pages 2211-2220, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:10:p:2211-2220

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