Take the ASHG Advocate’s Pledge Today
September 2018

When you and your genetics colleagues take action and communicate your perspective to lawmakers and other stakeholders, ASHG policy and advocacy successes become possible. This is why, in strengthening our commitment to advocacy on behalf of the genetics community, ASHG last month launched an initiative empowering you to become involved in advocacy. We encourage you to become an ASHG advocate today! 

Advocacy works. In 2017, when legislation (the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act; H.R. 1313) weakening the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was introduced, the Society was public in its opposition. We spoke out about the importance of GINA both for research and for clinical genetic testing. Through our actions, we were able to stop H.R. 1313 from moving forward in Congress.

“ASHG is here to help you make advocacy easier, more informed, and more effective,” says Lynn Jorde, chair of ASHG’s newly formed Policy and Advocacy Advisory Group. As an ASHG member, you have many ways to engage in advocacy, such as sending a letter to your local newspaper, inviting a member of Congress to your research institution, or attending a local town hall meeting. Recognizing that it’s not always clear where to begin, ASHG has created the ’10 Ways to be a Genetics Advocate' tool, which contains information from the Society and other partner organizations about how to get involved.

A great first step is signing up to be an ASHG advocate. You will receive regular information on how to advocate effectively for genetics and updates on policy issues important for the genetics community. Plus, once signed up, you will receive notifications when new action alerts are posted on the Advocacy Center.

The Advocacy Center enables you to contact your members of the U.S. Congress about issues central to genetics, such as the need to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Significant increases in NIH funding in recent years have begun to reverse the agency’s loss of buying power over the past decade. These increases are the result of scientists like you across the country repeatedly telling their members of Congress about the importance of their research and why increased funding is so essential. It is critical that we join with the rest of the research community in continuing the drumbeat. At a time when federal law imposes limits on overall government spending, speaking out about funding for genetics research is key. 

While ASHG mainly engages in advocacy in the United States, the Society also tracks issues affecting the genetics community in other parts of the world. As a global society, we seek to support the advocacy of our international members, such as building support for the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act in Canada or voicing concern about mandatory genetic testing in Kuwait.

We know you are busy, so we are making it easy for you to get involved. Become an effective advocate for genetics by taking the ASHG Advocate’s Pledge. Together, we can make the voice of the genetics community heard!