Since 1962, ASHG has honored outstanding achievements in the field through its annual awards. Each spring, ASHG members are invited to nominate their colleagues for these prestigious awards. Nomination materials include the candidate's CV, a formal nomination letter, and an online form. Self-nominations are permitted. The ASHG Awards Committee then reviews all nomination materials and chooses awardees using a scoring rubric. Awardees are announced over the summer.

These awards recognize individuals with a diverse background of experience, ideas, and perspectives for a variety of activities, including carrying out substantial research and far-reaching scientific contributions to the field, expanding human genetics education, promoting the science of human genetics and its application for the common good, and mentoring efforts to cultivate the next generation of professionals in human genetics. ASHG is committed to improving diversity and inclusion in all its forms, and encourages nominations of outstanding scientists who represent that breadth of background and experience.

In addition to monetary prizes, awardees are invited to give a 15-30 minute talk at the ASHG Annual Meeting and receive complimentary travel to and registration for the meeting.

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ASHG Announces 2019 Award Recipients View Here

The William Allan Award is the top prize given by the American Society of Human Genetics; it was established in 1961 in memory of William Allan (1881-1943), who was one of the first American physicians to conduct extensive research in human genetics. The Allan Award is presented annually to recognize substantial and far-reaching scientific contributions to human genetics, carried out over a sustained period of scientific inquiry and productivity. The recipient is presented with an engraved medal and a monetary award of $25,000 at the ASHG Annual Meeting. The Allan Award winner is also invited to present a 30-45 minute address at the ASHG Annual Meeting, and it is customary to publish a manuscript of the presentation in The American Journal of Human Genetics. This award is given on a yearly basis, but can be omitted in any given year at the discretion of the Board. Nominations will be solicited from the ASHG Awards Committee and the general membership.

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The Curt Stern Award honors the memory of Curt Stern (1902-1981) as an outstanding pioneering human geneticist. This award is presented yearly for outstanding scientific achievements in human genetics that have occurred during the last 10 years. The work could be a single major discovery or may be a series of contributions on a similar or related topic. A plaque and a monetary award of $10,000 are presented to the recipient(s) at the Society’s Annual Meeting. Nominations for the Stern Award will be solicited from the ASHG Awards Committee and the general membership.

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*renamed in 2015 (formerly the ASHG Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education) 

ASHG established this award to recognize outstanding contributions to human genetics education. Nominees must have made contributions that are recognized nationally or internationally as being of exceptional quality and great importance to human genetics education. Nominees should have long-standing involvement in genetics education, contributions in more than one area, and contributions of substantive influence on individuals and/or organizations. Nominees should show a commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Examples of the types of contributions that might qualify a nominee include: producing a set of writings that has had a major influence on human genetics education, developing a curriculum or innovative teaching program that is widely emulated, writing a book that has been adopted by many universities, or developing an educational website. Nominees may be individuals or groups. All nominees and winners must be current ASHG members. If a group is nominated, at least one nominee in the group must be a current member. A monetary award of $10,000 and plaque will be presented to the recipient(s) at the Society's Annual Meeting. 

Nominees for the Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education may emerge from submissions from the membership, from the Awards Committee, or from the Information and Education Committee. The Information and Education Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the Awards Committee. Those proposing a candidate for this award should be aware that committee members might not be acquainted with the nominee, and they will benefit from receiving the following materials as part of the online application process: (1) a formal letter of nomination that addresses the criteria listed above; (2) the nominee’s CV; and (3) up to a maximum of three supporting statements from others who are familiar with the nominee's contributions to human genetics education. Nominees who are not selected for this award will remain eligible, without re-nomination, for an additional two years following the year of nomination.

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The ASHG Advocacy Award honors individuals or groups of individuals who have exhibited excellence and achievement in promoting the science of human genetics and its application for the common good. Areas of advocacy may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • promoting the importance of genetics and an understanding of genetically based healthcare in society at large;
  • increasing public awareness of ethical, legal, and policy-related issues in genetics;
  • promoting the importance of funding for biomedical research;
  • spearheading/shepherding/implementing genetics policy or legislation; and
  • improving familiarity with genetics research and genetic testing among a broad range of audiences.

The award recipient receives a plaque and a monetary award of $10,000 at the Society’s Annual Meeting. The award is presented annually, but may be omitted in any given year at the discretion of the Nominating Committee and Board.

Nominees need not be members of ASHG, but nominations must come from members of the Society.

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The ASHG Mentorship Award honors ASHG members who have significant records of accomplishment as mentors. The award is open to individuals at all academic ranks, but eligible candidates must have demonstrated a sustained pattern of exemplary mentorship at the graduate student, postdoctoral, residency, or fellowship level.

Candidates can be nominated by a colleague or a mentee. The nomination letter should describe the mentorship accomplishments of the candidate in sufficient detail for the selection committee to evaluate the candidacy. While it is not necessary to provide a list of all individuals trained by the nominee, the selection committee will consider information regarding mentorship style and its profound personal and/or professional impact on representative trainees, including their career decisions, trajectories and accomplishments. A second supporting letter is required. Either or both letters can contain testimonial support from other trainees with their expressed permission. At least one of these letters must come from a mentee, and at least one of the two individuals writing letters must be a member of ASHG. In addition, the nominee’s CV must accompany the letters of nomination.

The awardee will receive a plaque and a monetary award of $10,000 at the Society's Annual Meeting.

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The Early-Career Award recognizes scientists who are in the early stages of their careers as independent investigators. The candidate must not have been an independent investigator for more than 10 years and the work submitted for consideration must have been primarily the product of the candidate’s independent lab. A plaque and a $10,000 prize will be presented at the ASHG Annual Meeting.

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This prestigious award established by ASHG in honor of the late Dr. Victor A. McKusick, is presented on behalf of the Society to an individual whose professional achievements have fostered and enriched the development of various human genetics disciplines. Potential recipients should exemplify the enduring leadership and vision required to ensure that the field of human genetics will flourish and successfully assimilate into the broader context of science, medicine, and health. They also may have made major contributions to awareness or understanding of human genetics by policy makers or by the general public. A plaque and $10,000 prize will be presented in honor of the awardee at the ASHG Annual Meeting.

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ASHG honors excellence in research conducted by predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees (including genetic counseling trainees) through merit-based awards that recognize highly competitive abstracts submitted and presented at the ASHG Annual Meeting. These awards were renamed in 2012 to honor the late Dr. Charles Epstein, who was a past president of ASHG, former editor of AJHG, and winner of both the William Allan Award and the McKusick Leadership Award. The Program Committee and Awards Committee, in consultation with the ASHG Board of Directors, determine the number of awards, the categories for which they are given, and the prize amounts of each award.

Currently, the total value of ASHG’s Trainee Awards is approximately $70,000 annually. The 2019 Epstein Awards are supported by a generous donation from BioMarin.

Criteria: Nominees can find the option to apply for the Epstein Awards in the abstract submission form.  Nominees must: (1) be an ASHG member and not more than six years in postdoctoral training; (2) be the first author on a submitted abstract (to be considered, trainees must check the appropriate box when submitting their abstract); (3) supply the name and email address of a nominator/mentor (the nominator must be able to verify the trainee’s work and must be a current ASHG member).

Review and Selection: Abstract scoring is completed by the Program Committee, and the ~60 top-ranking trainee-authored abstracts (semifinalists who receive $750 plus complimentary Annual Meeting registration) are submitted to the Awards Committee, which selects 18 finalists (who receive an additional $250) prior to the Annual Meeting. Finalists' presentations are judged by Awards Committee members at the Annual Meeting and six winners receive an additional $1,000 each.

Notification: Semifinalists and finalists are notified in July and August, and may pick up their awards at the Annual Meeting. Otherwise, they will be sent their awards after the Annual Meeting (Note: We do not send awards early). 

For questions, contact ASHG Education.

2018 Epstein Award Recipients

2019 Finalists and Semifinalists

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Each September, the editorial board of The American Journal of Human Genetics selects two articles published in the journal in the previous year that best represent outstanding scientific contributions to the field of human genetics. Two Cotterman Awards will be given annually and a monetary award of $1000 and a plaque will be presented to the recipients for the top two papers published in the Journal during the previous year on which the first author was either a pre- or post- doctoral trainee and an ASHG member.

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