Evaluation of DSD training schools organized by cost action BM1303 "DSDnet"

R. Bertalan*, A. Lucas-Herald, Z. Kolesinska, M. Berra, Martine Cools, A. Balsamo, O. Hiort

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: The Differences of Sex Development network (DSDnet) aims to establish interactive relationships between clinicians, scientists, support groups and people with a difference of sex development (DSD) to improve the overall care for people affected by such condition. DSDnet has hosted three Training Schools (TSs) in Ghent, Bologna and Budapest between 2015 and 2017 with the primary purpose of providing multidisciplinary training to young professionals and encouraging ongoing activity in the field of DSD. The aim of our study was to evaluate the success and long-term effect effectiveness of these three TSs. Methods and results: Eighty-seven trainees (70 women, 17 men) attended one of three TSs. The distribution of trainees according to their professional field was: 47 (54.0%) from Pediatrics/Endocrinology, 13 (14.9%) from Biology/Genetics, 12 (13.8%) from Psychology/Psychiatry and 15 (17.2%) from Surgical Professions. All trainees were asked to complete an evaluation form on the last day of the TS to gain feedback on how to improve the next one. A further survey was sent at the end of 2017 to provide information about the overall long-term impact of the TSs. Seventy-eight (89.7%) trainees completed evaluation forms at the end of the respective TSs. Replies to the subsequent survey were received from 76 (87.4%) of trainees. A total of 72/76 (94.7%) responders reported that they continue to be active in the field of DSD. The vast majority (64/68, 94.1%) reported that the TSs had enlarged their professional networks. Among the 76 respondent trainees, 11.8% (n = 9) had applied for a research grant and 10.5% (n = 8) had received a fellowship related to DSD since their TS attendance. Conclusions: According to our results, the majority of TS participants continue to be active in the field of DSD and have enlarged their professional networks following participation at the TS. These findings indicate the need of this type of educational program and justify ongoing efforts to provide postgraduate multidisciplinary training in rare diseases such as DSD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number227
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18.12.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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