ASHG Partners with GSK to Foster Workforce Diversity and Inclusion in Genetics and Genomics

Published: Thursday, December 10, 2020, 10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Media Contact: Kara Flynn, 202.257.8424,

ROCKVILLE, Md. – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is pleased to announce a new partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the human genetics and genomics research community. GSK joins the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), Biogen, and Roche in supporting ASHG’s Human Genetics Scholars Initiative – a program seeking to nurture the professional success of diverse, early-career genetics and genomics researchers.

Through this organizational support, each Human Genetics Scholar receives two years of attendance and travel for the ASHG Annual Meeting, year-round professional development, intensive mentoring, community-building, and other qualified tailored professional development support of the Scholar’s choosing (e.g., scientific meetings, courses, etc.). Launched in Spring 2019, the program has 16 current Scholars and approximately 50 additional “community” members (i.e., qualified applicants) who participate in year-round professional development programming and discussion forums.

“Human Genetics Scholars are selected for their scientific achievement and promise and ASHG is delighted to have a broad partnership of organizations supporting this impressive community,” said Dana Crawford, PhD, chair of ASHG’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. “We are confident that their research careers will lead to greater understanding and application of human genetics and genomics that benefit all people, and that they will also bring new perspectives that generate greater inclusion and benefit for underserved populations.”

ASHG’s strategic plan emphasizes the need to improve diversity and inclusion in genetics and genomics research, both in the workforce and research study populations. Workforce studies demonstrate the need to adopt more effective strategies to retain and promote diverse scientists in research careers. Historically underserved populations are understudied and underrepresented in nationwide and global genetic research efforts, excluding diverse populations from many health studies and resulting benefits. Greater research workforce diversity will improve inclusion of such underserved populations because researchers of diverse backgrounds are much more likely to include diverse populations in their research efforts.

“By supporting the Human Genetics Scholars Initiative, GSK deepens its commitment to a wide range of perspectives and experiences,” said Erik Ingelsson, SVP of Human Genetics, GSK. “We are bringing together great science, new technology, and outstanding people with diverse experiences to use human genetics and functional genomics to help deliver on our goal of doubling development success rates and make a difference in more patients’ lives. We look forward to partnering with ASHG and engaging with future scholars to make an impact in the field of genetics to advance scientific discoveries.”

“ASHG is grateful to GSK for its support and looks forward to a growing partnership focused on enhancing diversity and inclusion in human genetics and genomics,” said ASHG President Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, MD, PhD.

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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:

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