Italics indicate quotations from the Bylaws as amended October 29, 2004

Appointment Procedures

Committee members, except those serving by virtue of holding other office, shall be appointed by the President and may be removed by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The President shall designate the chairperson of each committee from among its members. No chairperson may serve in that capacity for more than 3 years. Appointed committee members assume office on January 1 and serve through December 31 of the year in which their tenure ends. 

The President contacts committee chairpersons to ask whom they recommend to fill committee seats that will fall vacant at the end of the year. After considering their input and communications from members who have expressed an interest in serving on committees, the President may choose to make new appointments immediately or review possible appointees with the Board. Ideally, the President will make appointments in the spring or summer so that new members may attend their committee's meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting and thus familiarize themselves with the business at hand before assuming office.

Reporting Procedures

It is the responsibility of the chairpersons to report on their committees' deliberations, activities, and plans as indicated below. Each chairperson should arrange adequate communications among the committee members such that requests and recommendations to the Board represent a consensus of the committee. Each committee is encouraged to communicate and work with other relevant committees of the ASHG or other organizations whenever appropriate. 

Reports to the Board

In order to centralize record-keeping, it is advisable that items directed to any member of the Board of Directors be sent to them via the Administrative Office. If an item is sent directly to a Board member, a copy should be sent to the Administrative Office.

There are two Board meetings a year:

  1. Spring Board meeting: With the exception of the Nominating Committee, chairpersons may be asked to submit a written report on the past year's activities, together with plans for the coming year. These reports will be mailed to Board members prior to the spring Board meeting. If any chairperson determines that a committee meeting is necessary in addition to the one held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, a justification for this meeting will need to be approved by the Board. 

  2. Fall Board meeting (in conjunction with the Annual Meeting): With the exception of the Nominating and Awards Committees, chairpersons will be invited to attend to update the Board on committee plans/activities discussed at the committee meetings held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.

Reports to the Membership

With the exception of the Nominating and Awards Committees, chairpersons should plan to report to the membership at the Business Meeting held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.

Reports for Publication

Committees are encouraged to publish the results of their deliberations on specific issues in The American Journal of Human Genetics. The procedure is as follows:

  1. The chairperson requests Board approval to undertake preparation of a report. The request should indicate:
    the focus and intent of the report,
    who will lead the effort,
    how long it will take, 
    the intended audience, and
    the estimated cost of producing the report.

  2. If the Board approves the request, it may appoint a report review committee that will reach a decision in a timely manner.

Ultimate authority for publication of such reports in the AJHG rests with the Board of Directors and the Editor. In cases where the decision is not to publish the report as an ASHG document, Board approval is required before the report is submitted for publication elsewhere. Position papers should not be published with a minority opinion.

In areas of public policy, a committee may make recommendations for ASHG-endorsed policy statements either to the Executive Committee or to the Board of Directors. Drafts of policy statements should be stamped DRAFT on every page and should be sent only to those people whose input is required to improve the document. Drafts should not be distributed for informational purposes. 

Publication of Presentations at Workshops or Symposia

Occasionally, a committee may wish to publish a summary or the proceedings of a workshop or symposium it has presented at the ASHG Annual Meeting. In this event, the committee chairperson must request Board approval to publish. The request should indicate:

the focus and intent of the manuscript,
who will lead the effort to compile the manuscript,
how long it will take, 
the intended audience, and
estimated cost of manuscript preparation and publication.

Upon Board approval, the Editor of The American Journal of Human Genetics will have first option to publish, and the manuscript will be subject to Editorial Board review. In cases where the Board of Directors or the Editorial Board decide not to publish the manuscript in The American Journal of Human Genetics, Board approval is required before the manuscript is submitted for publication elsewhere. Such articles must begin with a disclaimer that the opinions set forth are not necessarily those of the Society or its individual members.


On request, and by approval of the Board of Directors, committees shall be provided with such funds as may be necessary to perform their work. The Executive Director at her discretion may request submission of annual committee budget proposals for action by the Board at its spring meeting. The following information must be presented for each line item in a proposed committee budget:

Person(s) responsible for the project. 
What the outcome is expected to be.
When the project will be finished.
How the review process will be conducted.
Amount appropriated/expended for this project in the previous calendar year.

A committee may not "borrow" from future years' appropriations or from unexpended funds in its budget in order to finance unauthorized activities or cover cost overruns on an activity for which a specific sum has been approved by the Board.

All requests for funds for a committee activity, whether directed to the ASHG or to an outside agency, must first be sent to the Administrative Office for review by the President and Treasurer and, at their discretion, by the whole Board of Directors. Requests directed to outside agencies must be signed by the Treasurer, or by another officer with the knowledge and approval of the Treasurer.

ASHG will reimburse any committee member who incurs expenses in the conduct of authorized Society business unless those expenses should more appropriately be charged to another source. Except in the case of routine committee and Board meetings, the member is expected to submit a report to the Board via the Administrative Office. 

It is assumed that committee members routinely attend the ASHG Annual Meeting and charge expenses to other sources. Thus, no reimbursement is offered in connection with committee meetings held during the Annual Meeting, with these exceptions:

  • When a committee member whose presence is critical could not attend without Society funding. Such cases should be brought to the attention of the Treasurer before the meeting in question.

  • When a committee meeting is scheduled such that members are required to arrive one day before/after their usual arrival/departure date for attending the Annual Meeting.

Committee chairpersons who are not members of the Board will be reimbursed for expenses incurred in attending the spring Board meeting to make their reports. Expenses typically include meals, lodging, and transportation. Airfare reimbursement is limited to advance purchase, direct, round-trip coach fare. Additional costs due to late bookings, first class seats, or travel not based on a round-trip rate are the responsibility of the individual. These expenses will be posted to the Board account, not to the committee account.

If the Program Committee accepts another committee's proposed symposium or workshop for presentation at the Annual Meeting, that session will be funded from Annual Meeting monies (not from committee funds) according to the guidelines established by the Board. Requests for exceptions should be addressed to the chairperson of the Program Committee, who may decide to refer the matter to the Executive Committee. 

Committees are encouraged to conduct their business by conference call when possible.

The Society will not support financial commitments made in violation of these guidelines.

ASHG Guidelines for Corporate Sponsorship

The ASHG welcomes the opportunity to co-sponsor educational programs, public awareness projects and special events with commercial entities interested in providing funding for such activities. By accepting financial support from corporate sponsors pursuant to these guidelines, the ASHG believes it will more effectively meet its obligations to its members and to the general public.

The ASHG’s relationship with corporate sponsors is guided by the following principles:

  1. The ASHG must retain scientific and educational control over the content of all commercially supported projects.

  2. The ASHG must remain financially secure and independent of commercial funding.

  3. All proposals from industry that involve the ASHG should be approved by the Board of Directors.

  4. In considering corporate sponsors for ASHG activities, the ASHG should reach out to as many corporate partners as possible to ensure objectivity and prevent misunderstanding of the influence of industry on ASHG decisions.

Public Activities of Certain ASHG Members

ASHG officials are viewed as experts in human genetics and are often invited to speak to gatherings of the academic community or the general public. To avoid possible confusion or misunderstanding, ASHG officials who address such groups should clearly indicate whether they are speaking on behalf of the ASHG or as private individuals.

From time to time, ASHG is asked to provide a representative to an Advisory Board or Committee, including State Health Departments. In addition, certain federally funded programs include in their requests for applications the requirement of the involvement of a national genetics professional organization on their advisory group. As it is in the best interest of ASHG to be engaged and informed of these activities, the Society will be responsive when it is deemed appropriate. 

Requests come first to the Administrative Office, and if deemed appropriate, the Executive Vice President (EVP) will forward the information to the President. If agreed to, the EVP will draft the response to the requestor, contact the person(s) suggested as appointees, and follow up as necessary to fulfill the obligation agreed to.

Presidential Appointments to Advisory Boards and Committees

The American Society of Human Genetics values the opportunity to be involved in a variety of activities relevant to the business of the Society. Any member of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) appointed by the President to an Advisory Board or Committee for a project or term appointment represents the professional human genetics community through his/her own expertise and experience. The appointee does not speak directly for ASHG as an organization, unless the statement content has been reviewed by the Board of Directors. Formal opinions or positions of ASHG become written documents to be approved by the elected Board of Directors of the organization. All position statements are then published, either in the American Journal of Human Genetics or on the ASHG website at, or both.

ASHG members fulfilling an obligation resulting from a Presidential appointment are expected to provide written reports and updates to the Board of Directors for review. The reports are submitted annually or semi-annually, as appropriate, to the Executive Vice President in the ASHG Administrative Office. The EVP is available throughout the tenure of the appointment for consultation, discussion, or as a liaison to the Executive Committee and the Board.

fairly and precisely. 

  • Accountability

    Act responsibly toward colleagues, government, corporate sponsors, the wider 
    health care community and the public at large. Build public trust through

  • Collegiality

    Treat colleagues and researchers with respect and courtesy, based on
    principles of equality and mutual respect for those with differing worldviews or
    from different cultures. Share ideas honestly, giving proper credit for others’
    contributions to their work.


Members protect the privacy of the individual, especially in light of concerns over possible discrimination and confidentiality of medical information.

  • Confidentiality

    Respect the confidential nature of all information entrusted to them. Disclosing
    personal health information with proper and specific authority through the
    consent of the individual or where there is a legal, ethical or professional right
    or duty to disclose. 

  • Storage and security

    Maintain confidentiality in creating, storing, accessing, transferring, and 
    disposing of personal health information.


Members act fairly and provide complete, accurate and timely information to their colleagues, to the public, and to the media.

  • Professionalism

    Claim expertise in fields where they have the necessary depth of knowledge,
    especially when interacting with patients, or contributing to public discussion or
    policy debate. Do not make statements that are false, deceptive, or fraudulent
    concerning research, practice, or other work activities, or those of persons or
    groups with whom they are affiliated. 

  • Conflicts of interest

    Disclose any potential conflicts of interest. Safeguard the quality and credibility
    of their professional judgment. 

  • Diffusion of results

    Report findings accurately, completely, without distortion and in a timely 
    manner. Present personal opinions as such and not as those of the Society. 

  • Public education

    Foster public understanding of the nature and objectives of human genetics
    consistent with open and responsible use of human genetic findings in science 
    and health care.

Approved March 2006 
ASHG Board of Directors