Human Genetics Scholars Initiative: Building Community, Shaping the Future of the Field

On April 13 -15, ASHG, in collaboration with NHGRI, hosted the first Human Genetics Scholars Initiative (HGSI) Spring Meeting in Rockville, MD, welcoming twenty scholars from across all four cohorts. The meeting featured an interactive, facilitated workshop entitled, From Vision to Reality: Building the Field You Want to See, a half-day special visit to the NHGRI on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, and countless networking and peer engagement opportunities.

During the meeting, scholars were able to explore ways to overcome barriers or challenges in their respective programs and workplaces as well as identify factors to succeed across the training and career continuum, while creating and leveraging a supportive professional community. In addition, scholars participated in NHGRI-led panel discussions with program officers, who discussed funding, training, and research resources. Remarks by the Institutes’ leadership, Eric Green, MD, PhD and Vence L. Bonham, Jr. JD, were an exciting highlight of the meeting agenda.

As the program continues in its fourth year, HGSI is made possible through a founding partnership with NHGRI and with the vital financial support of Biogen, GSK, Roche, and Merck & Co. Over the course of this two-year, intensive program, each scholar receives complimentary ASHG membership for two years; complimentary registration, travel, and hotel accommodation for two of the Society’s Annual Meetings; a dedicated mentor for the two-year period, and support in identifying and building other potential mentor relationships, such as peer and subject-matter mentors; and $1,000 annually in enrichment funds for qualified career development of their choosing.

Each year, eight scholars are selected following a rigorous application process. The participants are outstanding late-stage graduate students, postdoctoral fellows or early-career researchers with diverse stories who bring their voices center stage and learn alongside each other.

The spring meeting was a tremendous opportunity for scholars to connect and gain invaluable experiences – learning, sharing, and imaging together a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable human genetics and genomics field. Several scholars mentioned during the closing session how much they appreciated the event which enriched their connections and sense of community.

Applications for the program are open until June 16, 2023!

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