Dear ASHG Community:We hope this update finds you and yours healthy and safe. As ASHG is one of your professional homes, we know how important it is to update you as the Society continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, and potential impacts for our genetics and genomics community, including ASHG programs and the 2020 Annual Meeting. At a time of uncertainty, you can count on us to prioritize protecting public health and to help you advance your science and your career. Serving the people and science of human genetics and genomics remains at the heart of ASHG’s mission.
First, thank you for the leadership you show on countless fronts. Our community is generating so much knowledge to understand the virus, its transmission mechanisms, and population resiliencies and risks, and many members are on the frontlines of public health solutions. Many of you are involved in the care of patients impacted directly by SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or indirectly by the pandemic. You also have many additional roles at many career stages – as professors, mentors, trainees, counselors, and institutional leaders. Through this time, you are caring for the community, helping graduate students continue their studies, reviewing papers, communicating with research participants, monitoring the well-being of animal colonies, analyzing data, and leading departments through disruption. Around the world, you are doing your utmost to ensure the research enterprise comes through this time for the people and science we serve. Thank you again!
Second, we are assessing any impact on ASHG, including the Annual Meeting in San Diego, October 27-31. We can share the following updates:
- Under the guidance of Chair Teri Manolio, ASHG’s Program Committee has a fantastic program of speakers and workshops, and your science will form the heart of it through plenary, platform and poster sessions as well as a robust exhibit floor and exhibitor educational events. Abstract submission opens this week through June 11 and we encourage you to continue to prepare your science to share!
- At the same time, public health remains our paramount concern and the Board of Directors is continuously evaluating the short- and long-term outlooks for travel, safety, and numerous other issues pertaining to the Annual Meeting in the fall. The Executive Committee and Board have been meeting weekly and will be meeting regularly in coming weeks to determine how we can best support you, your science and your health, including the well-being of the community of San Diego. Rest assured that we are also building the capacity to deliver vibrant and engaging alternatives should they be necessary.
Finally, we continue to serve you through a robust set of year-round activities. These include upcoming and on-demand webinars, a celebration of DNA Day and our annual Essay Contest winners, vibrant social media, new videos, and much more. And our policy team is actively engaged in Washington to keep you informed on emerging news and to advocate for genetics and genomics research and policy priorities.
Certainty in uncertain times can be of highest value. You can be certain that ASHG is here for you. Thank you for being a member at this important time – ASHG is committed and well-positioned to help you and our entire community through this time. And we encourage you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @GeneticsSociety to stay in touch!
Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, M.D., PhD
President, American Society of Human Genetics