Published: Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 3:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time
Media Contact: Kara Flynn, 202.257.8424 firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCKVILLE, MD – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) announced today that Chazeman S. Jackson, PhD, MA, will join the Society as its first senior director, diversity, equity and inclusion on October 19. In service to the Society’s mission to advance human genetics and genomics in science, health, and society, this newly created position will work with staff and volunteers to implement and shape ASHG’s growing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in both field-facing and public programs.
In 2019, ASHG’s Board of Directors established diversity as one of four major areas of emphasis in its Strategic Plan and early in 2020 it released its first-ever diversity and inclusion policy statement that outlines the Society’s commitment and areas of attention. In her role, Dr. Jackson will provide greater centralized leadership and coordination for a range of programs and activities launched in the past three years and help the Society envision and expand its programs. Presently, the Society’s major focus areas include:
- Providing leadership to document and increase the inclusion and training of underrepresented groups in the human genetics and genomics research workforce. By doing so, the Society seeks to recognize, appreciate and enhance the diversity of the ASHG community and expand the range of scientific and health questions that genetics and genomics researchers are asking and answering.
- Promotion of participation in genetics research within diverse communities. This emphasis recognizes the current lack of diversity in genomics research cohorts and that greater inclusion is vital to improve fundamental knowledge about the genetic diversity of humankind and to address current health disparities and prevent future ones as genomic medicine grows.
- Encouraging broader awareness and appreciation of the shared genetic history of all humans, as well as the strengths found in both our commonality and unique genetic contributions.
“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Jackson to ASHG in this leadership role, as she brings nearly 15 years of experience as a project and thought leader, strategist and communicator in biomedical research and health,” said Mona Miller, ASHG Chief Executive Officer. “Combined with her scientific training and deep knowledge of health equity, she is uniquely positioned to help shape and guide our growing work on diversity, equity and inclusion. She will also bring a valued collaborative orientation to engage across our staff team and help me expand important organizational partnerships to realize ASHG’s vision and create demonstrable change.”
Over the past ten years, Dr. Jackson has held several key positions within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She joins ASHG after serving as a senior science policy analyst and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) portfolio lead in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Previously, she was an Emerging Leaders Fellow and a health scientist administrator at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities within the NIH. Afterward from 2012 – 2016, Dr. Jackson served a critical role, as health science advisor in the HHS Office of Minority Health, where she developed and implemented the office’s research and science policy agenda.
Dr. Jackson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in humanities with an emphasis in philosophy from Tougaloo College, a Master of Arts degree in biology from American University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in medical microbiology from Howard University. She has received several honors and recognitions, including being an inaugural recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship; a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities; a HHS Secretary Distinguished Service Awardee; and author of several papers on health equity, workforce diversity, and science policy.
“I’m deeply honored to join ASHG in this new role and to have this opportunity and responsibility to contribute to the Society’s vision that people everywhere realize the benefits of human genetics and genomics research,” said Dr. Jackson. “I am committed both personally and professionally to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. With passion and tenacity, I’m thrilled to bring my experience and expertise to advance this important work. I look forward to working with ASHG staff and volunteers to create innovative programs, build strategic partnerships, and achieve transformative results to help ensure human genetics and genomics research benefits all.”
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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; (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.