ASHG Community Dialogue: Confronting the Past – A Necessary Path to Equity

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ASHG invites our community to participate in a 90-minute virtual forum featuring a brief presentation of the Facing Our History – Building an Equitable Future initiative, a panel discussion, and a safe space for questions and dialogue. Please join us on September 14, 2022, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm ET.

This session will be moderated by Neil Hanchard, MBBS, D.Phil, (Chair, ASHG DEI Task Force and Facilitator of the initiative’s Expert Panel on Historic Injustices and Scientific Racism). The session is designed to provide background on the initiative and its progress as well as engage our community in this important discussion. The dialogue portion of the session will not be recorded to maintain the freedom for participants to speak openly and safely.

The following Expert Panel members are participating in the forum:

  • Katrina Claw, PhD, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Assistant Professor, Medicine-Bioinformatics
  • Tshaka Cunningham, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Polaris Genomics Inc.
  • Charmaine Royal, PhD, Duke University, Robert O. Keohane Professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine & Community Health
  • Digna Velez Edwards, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Division Director Quantitative Sciences, Director, Women’s Health Research

Register today using the green button at the top of this page.

  • Katrina Claw, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Broadly, her research program focuses on personalizing medicine, pharmacogenomics, and the ethical, legal, social, and cultural implications of genomic research with American Indian/Alaska Native and other Indigenous communities. At the core of her research is using community-engaged approaches and ethical frameworks throughout the research process. Dr. Claw grew up on the Navajo Nation and is an enrolled member of the Navajo (Diné) tribe. She obtained her BS in biology and BA in anthropology at Arizona State University and her PhD in genome sciences at the University of Washington.
  • Tshaka Cunningham, PhD, a graduate of Princeton University, received his PhD in molecular biology from Rockefeller University & completed his postdoctoral training at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. He is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Polaris Genomics, a precision behavioral health company. A leading voice in advocating for diversity & representation in the field of genomics, Tshaka is also a volunteer leader of non-profit STEM youth programming for underserved communities. He previously worked at the VA headquarters overseeing a large neurodegenerative disease research program, & also served as a subject matter expert for the VA’s Genomic Medicine Implementation Program. Motivated by the timely need for advancements in precision medicine while at the VA, Tshaka is dedicated to improving people’s lives through the power of genomics.
  • Charmaine Royal, PhD, is the Robert O. Keohane Professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine & Community Health at Duke University. She directs the Duke Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference and the Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation. Dr. Royal’s research, scholarship, and teaching focus on ethical, social, scientific, and clinical implications of human genetics and genomics research, particularly issues at the intersection of genetics and "race". Her specific interests and primary areas of work include genetics and genomics in African and African Diaspora populations; sickle cell disease and trait; public and professional perspectives and practices regarding "race", ethnicity, and ancestry; genetic ancestry inference; and broadly defined genotype-environment interplay. A fundamental aim of her work is to dismantle ideologies and systems of racial hierarchy in research, healthcare, and society. She serves on numerous national and international advisory boards and committees for government agencies, professional organizations, research initiatives, not-for-profit entities, and corporations.
  • Digna Velez Edwards, PhD, MS, is a genetic epidemiologist, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of the Division of Quantitative Sciences in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Director of Women's Health Research center. She has doctoral training in human genetics and a master's degree in statistics. She started as faculty in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010 pursuing research focused on understanding the genetic determinants of health disparities and the role of gene and environment interactions in the risk for complex diseases, with a specific interest in fibroproliferative disorders that include uterine fibroids and keloids and diseases that disproportionately impact women's reproductive health. She is also actively engaged in early career faculty and graduate student training through her role as Associate Program Director of the Vanderbilt’s Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health K12 Program that focuses on training faculty in sex and gender research careers, as well as her role as Co-Director of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) graduate student training program.


    ASHG Community Dialogue: Confronting the Past - A Necessary Path to Equity
    09/14/2022 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 09/14/2022
    09/14/2022 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 09/14/2022