Published: Thursday, April 22, 2021, 4:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time
Media Contact: Kara Flynn, 202.257.8424, firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCKVILLE, MD – Earlier today, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) hosted its first ever Hill Day. Due to the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill Day 2021 was hosted virtually, making advocating for geneticists more accessible than ever. Twelve advocates from across the nation joined the Virtual Hill Day, reaching key Members of Congress to discuss issues of critical importance.
During the Virtual Hill Day, advocates discussed the impact of human genetics and genomics research both on human health and on the U.S. economy. They called on their Members of Congress to act swiftly to advance three legislative priorities: funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supporting research relief for labs that were shut down last year due to the global pandemic, and voicing concerns for the need for diversity in genetics, in both the workforce and research.
“Scientific progress depends upon an adequate and reliable stream of public funding,” said ASHG President Gail Jarvik, MD, PhD. “Members of Congress need to be as aware of this reality as geneticists are in their everyday work. By meeting face-to-face with lawmakers, scientists can create a personal connection while sharing their expertise in order to advance research funding. These meetings lay the groundwork for hosting lawmakers in lab tours, meeting with them when they return to their district, and becoming a resource to their staff when it comes time to make decisions about funding.”
According to Jarvik, she came away from the meetings with a great deal of optimism and excitement. “It is encouraging to know that our advocates invested time and energy educating our lawmakers that will undoubtedly pay huge dividends for geneticists,” she said. “ASHG is grateful to members of Congress and their staff for taking time to hear about the remarkable advances in genetics and genomics research and the essential role of Congress in ensuring that sufficient public funds are available for continued progress.”
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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.