Expanding Our Presence: ASHG attends ABRCMS 2023

In 2023, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Students (ABRCMS) was held in Phoenix, Arizona.  ABRCMS focuses on “historically excluded community college, undergraduate, and postbaccalaureate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”  Over a span of 20 years the conference has evolved to incorporate graduate students, post-doctoral students, program administrators, and job recruiters.

This is ASHG’s second year attending in-person, and the ASHG staff and several volunteer leaders enthusiastically greeted hundreds of attendees and presented on various topics. Human Genetics Scholars Initiative (HGSI) alumna and current Board of Directors member, Krystal Tsosie, PhD, gave a scientific expert lecture titled “Understanding Genetic Variation: A Matter of Taste from Individual and Community Level Perspectives.” Debra Murray, PhD, a long-time mentor and former HGSI Advisory Group member, moderated the session.

Krystal Tsosie, PhD, MPH, MA,
Krystal Tsosie, PhD

Reflecting on her time at the conference, Dr. Tsosie shared: “I was trained at an institution that struggles with numbers of diverse mentors. This was my first time attending and presenting at ABRCMS, which was in Phoenix this past year. I was so astounded by the strength of the community and the groundbreaking work coming from scholars of color. I wish I had more opportunities to be connected when I was earlier career. But the important thing is that we are now, together, and I cannot wait to bring my own Indigenous mentees to ABRCMS in the future!”

ASHG recognizes the need to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the human genetics and genomics workforce. One of the ways to achieve this is to engage and expand our presence at highly impactful conferences like ABRCMS. The ABRCMS exhibit hall was a great opportunity to connect with students interested in training in the human genetics and genomics field.  ASHG shared a booth with the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSCG) as there has been a tremendous growth of interest in the genetic counseling field.  ASHG staff highlighted membership opportunities as well as the ASHG-NHGRI post-graduate fellowship programs, the Post-Baccalaureate Genomics Analyst Fellowship, and ASHG’s premier program, HGSI.

ASHG staff members at ABRCMS 2023

Undergraduate and graduate students were thrilled to learn about HGSI.  HGSI was launched in 2019 to help advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field.  The program identifies, mentors, and help prepares a select, diverse cohort of high-potential, early-career individuals for professional success as well as develops and sustains a community of researchers in human genetics and genomics.  Applications for HGSI will open in May 2024. To learn more, please visit the HGSI webpage.




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