ASHG is launching new public engagement and education initiatives to connect ASHG members with the public and share the benefits of human genetics and genomics research. Later this year, ASHG will launch its new Discover Genetics section on ASHG.org as part of the Society’s strategic goal to increase public awareness of the benefits and impact of genetics and genomics research. Over time, this page will grow as a resource for the public, educators, and our members involved in public engagement and education.
With its new format, the Discover Genetics page is expanding to share a wide range of resources curated and approved by the Public Education and Awareness Committee (PEAC), and is adding to existing ASHG public education and engagement programs and resources including the DNA Day Essay Contest, GENE Network, and 6 Things You Should Know about Genetics. As it grows, ASHG will create new resources and add member-vetted content from valued community partners such as the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), Personal Genetics Education Project (PGed) and PBS. Content is divided into four subject areas: Genetic Basics, Genetics and Research, Genetics and Health, and Genetics and Society. New content can be found at the top of the page.
The page will launch with two new videos produced in partnership with the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SPARK), which highlight how geneticists learned that autism is genetic and scientific progress made over the years. Additionally, the site will provide information showcasing the need to develop treatments that will be effective in all patients and the importance of research participation from people from a range of ancestral and socio-economic backgrounds.
ASHG will also create new fact sheets through the year, which will be made available on Discover Genetics. Each fact sheet will be created by a PEAC member and science writer and will be formatted as a one-page document that can easily be shared digitally or in print form. PEAC selected fact sheet topics based on their expertise, important topics for the public to understand, and days of recognition and celebration through the year. The first fact sheet was released at the end of February and addressed rare diseases in recognition of Rare Disease Day on February 28.
Finally, a news article will be shared weekly. Articles will keep members of the public up to date on news in the field and highlight the wonders of human genetics and genomics research.
Human genetics and genomics research is driving discovery and new applications across all facets of research, medicine, and society. The Discover Genetics page enables people everywhere to better understand their genetic composition and basic genetics concepts, and to gain a new appreciation of humanity’s diversity and our shared genetic heritage as a single species.
Share your content recommendations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to sign up for the GENE Network to receive quarterly updates on ASHG’s public engagement and education initiatives, along with tips and experiences from the ASHG community.