Featured Symposia (formerly Invited Sessions)

Questions: programs@ashg.org

The members of the Program Committee (PC) are available for questions and discussions to help you frame or design your proposal.

Featured Symposia are developed and proposed by ASHG members around a particular topic of interest and are held in concurrent timeslots. Submitting a Featured Symposium proposal offers ASHG members the opportunity to directly participate in the development of the scientific program. Through a rigorous review process, the ASHG Program Committee assembles the best program possible on a diverse set of topics in human genetics and genomics.

ASHG urges proposers to invite presenters and moderators from a broad mix of institutions, locations, career stages, and diverse demographic backgrounds who represent a variety of labs and disciplines bringing data and/or perspectives from multiple projects to a shared topic of interest. Panels utilizing creative and engaging formats with voices from various career stages and groups underrepresented in science are encouraged.

Submission for featured symposia is now closed.

Submission Deadline: February 12, 2024, at 5:00 pm EST

Decision Date: Late March 2024

Proposer: Must be current ASHG member. Renew your 2024 membership. Must also serve as one of the Moderators.

Moderators: Two moderators, one of which must be the Proposer. Must be current ASHG members. Renew your 2024 membership.

Speakers: Four speakers. See criteria/policies below for more information.

Trainees: Each session must have at least one trainee as a Moderator and/or Speaker.

Session Duration: 90 minutes

Format: Sessions with four 15-minute talks followed by Q&A or panel discussion. Panel/debate style sessions are encouraged.

Symposia Session Types

Featured Symposia should address the state of the science on a specific topic. The following are some desired session types that would be welcomed by the Program Committee.

Scientific/Education Sessions

  • incorporating all aspects of human genetics research, particularly topics that integrate multiple basic scientific and clinical aspects of human genetic disease.
  • integrating multiple new approaches, technologies, model systems, or perspectives to address fundamental questions in genetics and genomics.
  • addressing research and best practices in genetics education at all levels, including training for academics and professionals, and education of research participants, patients, consumers, and the public.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Sessions

  • examining and seeking to address systemic racism in the genetic and genomic research enterprise including training, study design, recruitment and engagement of participants, analysis of data, and dissemination of research findings.
  • relating to research practices in health disparities as well as clinical and public health applications of human genetics.

Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Sessions

  • based on issues raised by applications of genomic technologies outside health and healthcare, including, but not limited to, education, forensics, immigration, human behavior, human evolution, human history and migration, and recreational applications.
  • focusing on social, ethical, and policy issues raised by the application of polygenic risk scores in preventive healthcare and public health, as well as applications outside health and healthcare.
  • elucidating gene-by-environment interactions, including social determinants of health, in the causation of health disparities, as well as analysis of the social, ethical, and policy implications of this research.
Tips for Crafting Proposals
  • Choose the right theme. Proposals that do well have a cohesive, overarching theme that has not been presented at recent meetings. Topics should have broad appeal to ASHG meeting attendees.
  • Choose the right speakers. Competitive proposals involve presenters who push the field forward while offering unique and diverse perspectives on the topic of focus.
  • Craft clear descriptions. Successful proposals have clear, detailed descriptions of each speaker’s talk. These should relate to the overall session theme and include recent data when possible.
Proposal Guidelines and Speaker/Moderator Policies
  • Proposals are due February 12, 2024. The deadline will not be extended as review begins immediately. Review the step-by-step instructions below before entering the submission site.
  • Before submitting a proposal, contact all speakers to ensure their availability as well as to obtain their agreement with ASHG policies.
  • ASHG believes in the importance of diverse representation in speakers and moderators, including gender, ethnicity, career stage, location, and institution. When crafting a session, proposers are required to include diverse speakers who represent a variety of labs and disciplines bringing data and/or perspectives from multiple projects to a shared topic of interest. Panels utilizing creative and engaging formats with voices from various career stages and groups underrepresented in science are encouraged.
  • Proposals that are proposed, moderated, and presented by trainees are highly encouraged.
  • Submissions for Featured Symposia are not eligible for the ASHG Trainee Research Excellence or Resource Limited Travel Awards.
  • Proposers/Moderators:
    • The proposer must serve as the session moderator.
    • The proposer/moderator and co-moderator must be current 2024 ASHG members. Renew or join.
  • Speakers:
    • There must be four speakers within a given session.
    • It is important to check to make sure a speaker is not being asked to serve in more than one session. Speakers and moderators can only be in one accepted proposal. If you are the moderator and/or speaker in two accepted proposals, a replacement must be found for one of the proposals.
    • There is a limit of two non-member speakers per session and only one non-member from outside of North America. Non-member speakers are offered funds to offset travel costs.
      • Member speakers include any current members or anyone who was an ASHG member in the past five years (2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, or 2019).
      • Non-member speakers include anyone who was not an ASHG member in the past five years.
    • All moderators and speakers receive a 25% discount on their registration to recognize their special contribution to the Annual Meeting.
  • Program Committee members are not permitted to speak in or moderate Featured Symposia during their tenure.
Step-by-Step Submission Instructions
  • Pre-Submission
    • Before logging in to submit your proposal, confirm that your name and contact information are correct in your ASHG membership account. The email address on your account will be used for all communications regarding your proposal and cannot be edited once you begin. If you cannot remember your ASHG login, please do NOT make a new login; instead, contact membership@ashg.org.
    • We recommend you draft your proposal in a separate document first so that you can cut and paste details into the submission form. You may save a partially completed submission and return to it at a future date.
  • Step 1: Beginning a New Submission
    Sign into the ASHG website to arrive at the submission portal. Select “Add New” next to the Featured Symposia text to begin a new submission.
  • Step 2: Basic Session Information
    Enter a title, topic area, track, primary audience, and session type for your session. This page MUST be completed first. Saving this page will automatically create a draft to which you can return at any time until the deadline.
  • Step 3: Detailed Session Information
    Enter the information described in each step, including:

    • Your session description, written for meeting participants (maximum of 1500 characters including spaces).
    • Whether you propose to include a panel discussion and, if yes, what you hope to accomplish during that time and some examples of questions you might discuss (maximum 2500 characters including spaces).
    • Your (1) rationale in proposing the session and (2) the target audience (maximum 2500 characters each including spaces). Specify what participants will gain from attending. These are for Program Committee review only.
    • How your session will contribute to the ASHG goal of having diverse representation and perspective at the Annual Meeting (maximum 2500 characters including spaces for each question). This is for Program Committee review only.
    • Four learning objectives for your session, focusing on the broad outcomes intended for the audience (maximum 150 characters each including spaces). Use these guidelines for crafting learning objectives.
  • Step 4: Proposer/Moderator
    Use the people lookup function to search for yourself in the ASHG community database and add yourself as the proposer/moderator. If you do not intend to moderate the session, cancel the submission and ask someone who is interested in moderating a session to submit the proposal.
  • Step 5: Co-moderator
    Please add a co-moderator to your session, use the people lookup function to search for them in the ASHG community database. Reminder: Your co-moderator must be an ASHG member. If your co-moderator is also a speaker, they need to be added as both a speaker and as a co-moderator.
  • Step 6:  Speaker
    Use the people lookup function to search for each of your four speakers in the ASHG community database and add them to your proposal. If you cannot find a speaker in the database, you will be given an option to add them after searching. If a speaker is also a moderator, they need to be added as both a speaker and as a moderator. After adding each speaker, enter their talk title and abstract description and save the entry. The abstract description is for meeting participants and should include specific results that the speaker will discuss, not a general overview of their qualifications (maximum 2500 characters including spaces). Your speakers should conform to the speaker selection policies. Proposals that do not follow these policies will not be accepted. After adding your speakers, you will have the option to reorder them using “Sort Order” or further edit their information. Once you have finished adding all your speakers and click ‘Continue,’ your proposal will be submitted (if you have completed the rest of the submission properly). There is no separate “submit” button.
  • Step 7: Review Summary and Complete Submission
    Review the full session information under the “Summary” tab. If you have missed any required information, there will be a notice at the top. You can also create a printer-friendly version of the submission on this page. A successful submission will prompt a confirmation email. You will not receive additional confirmation if you edit your proposal.
  • Post-submission: Revise by the deadline
    Log into the submission site to revise your proposal by the deadline. Review the submission summary each time you make an edit to ensure that the submission is still complete.
  • To withdraw a completed proposal, contact programs@ashg.org.
Review Process
  • All proposals are blindly reviewed and selected by the Program Committee (PC).
  • During the review period, proposers may be contacted by a member of the PC and may be asked to provide additional details or to combine your proposal with another one that has similar content.
  • Although every effort may be taken by a proposer to make the requested alterations, the PC will invariably need to reduce shortlisted proposals further to achieve a final collection of sessions with sufficient breadth for the meeting. This may mean that, even with suggested changes, a proposal may not be accepted.
  • Final decisions will be sent to all proposers by late March 2024.
Commercial Lab Eligibility
  • All interested groups are eligible to submit a Featured Symposium proposal regardless of status as a commercial lab. Moderators and speakers of accepted proposals are required to complete conflict of interest disclosure forms that will be reviewed to determine the session’s CME eligibility. If any of the moderators or speakers in a session are considered to have a possible conflict of interest, then the entire session would be ineligible to offer CME credits.
  • Proposals should contain novel findings and not be primarily promotional for a product or service. We offer separate paid speaking opportunities (non-CME eligible) for promotional sessions through our Exhibits team, including our popular CoLab sessions in the Exhibit & Poster Hall. Please visit our Exhibits page or reach out to exhibits@ashg.org with questions.


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