ASHG Launches Impact Partnerships for Equity in Genetics and Genomics Research

Illumina and Invitae Join as Founding Partners

Published: Monday, January 31, 2022, 10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Media Contact: Kara Flynn, 202.257.8424, press@ashg.org

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) today announced the launch of the ASHG Genetics and Genomics Impact Partnerships program. Illumina, a leader in next-generation genomic sequencing technologies, and Invitae, a leading medical genetics company, have joined as founding partners.

“The opportunity to apply human genetics and genomics research to build a more equitable world is urgent and ASHG is grateful for Illumina’s and Invitae’s support to help drive progress forward.” said ASHG President Charles Rotimi, PhD. “The commitment we’re sharing will help the researchers of today and tomorrow to make new discoveries that serve populations worldwide, apply genetics knowledge in more just and equitable ways, and inspire and support others to join the field. We thank these organizations for their tireless dedication to equity as we work toward a better future together.”

As the world’s largest professional organization for human genetics and genomics, ASHG is uniquely positioned to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in human genetics and genomics research on a global scale. The Society is working strategically and programmatically to expand participation and strengthen careers of researchers from diverse backgrounds, sustain emphasis on increasing diversity and inclusion in research cohorts, and develop a knowledge network and professional education for researchers.

Knowing that collective effort is required to ensure all people benefit from genetics and genomics research, ASHG Impact Partners include organizations likewise dedicated to advancing DEI in human genetics and genomics. Through their financial contributions, Impact Partners support the ASHG Fund for Equity in Genetics and Genomics Research, which helps the Society to design innovative programs with demonstrable impacts on DEI; enhance capacity to expand DEI efforts in future years; and sustain DEI programs and initiatives.

Joining as founding Impact Partners, Illumina and Invitae recognize the critical importance of advancing DEI in the field of human genetics and genomics.

“At Illumina, we recognize that our efforts to improve human health can be magnified if all people and places have access to genomic technology,” said Illumina’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Lisa Toppin, EdD. “We know that there are still significant gaps in access to genomic technology, personalized medicine, and even representative data to understand genomes in the context of global diversity. Through this exciting new partnership with ASHG, we will continue to close those gaps to increase access, improve the equity of representation, and expand the transformative benefits of genomics for all.”

“We are proud to support this initiative which aligns with our mission to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare for billions of people,” said Invitae’s Chief Medical Officer Robert Nussbaum, MD. “The era of Genome Management is now here, and equity in genomics is paramount in order to transform the way medicine is practiced.”

As part of this historic partnership, ASHG and Impact Partners will meet periodically to share knowledge and experiences and learn about effective DEI strategies that institutions and individual researchers can implement to advance more inclusive and equitable workforces and research study populations.

“We remain focused on fostering enduring change in the human genetics and genomic field and our newest partnership with Illumina and Invitae will further that effort,” Rotimi said. “Recruiting, retaining and engaging a robustly diverse and inclusive human genetics community is essential to identifying and addressing the profound questions in human genetics and advancing health equity, and everyone has a role to play in this critical mission.”

For more information on ASHG’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, visit https://www.ashg.org/membership/diversity-inclusion/

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About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics and Human Genetics and Genomics Advances; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit: http://www.ashg.org.

About Illumina, Inc.

At Illumina, our goal is to apply innovative technologies to the analysis of genetic variation and function, making studies possible that were not even imaginable just a few years ago. It is mission critical for us to deliver innovative, flexible, and scalable solutions to meet the needs of our customers. As a global company that places high value on collaborative interactions, rapid delivery of solutions, and providing the highest level of quality, we strive to meet this challenge. Illumina innovative sequencing and array technologies are fueling groundbreaking advancements in life science research, translational and consumer genomics, and molecular diagnostics.

About Invitae

Invitae (NYSE: NVTA) is a leading medical genetics company whose mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare for billions of people. Invitae’s goal is to aggregate the world’s genetic tests into a single service with higher quality, faster turnaround time, and lower prices. For more information, visit the company’s website at invitae.com.

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