For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 10, 2022, 10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time
Media Contact: Kara Flynn, (202) 257-8424, email@example.com
ROCKVILLE, MD –The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) today released the Human Genetics & Genomics Workforce Survey Report, which takes an in-depth look at the field’s workforce demographics, including race, ethnicity, or ancestry; gender identity; sexual orientation; age; disability status; and disadvantaged background. The new report draws on a first-of-its-kind survey of 4,367 respondents outlining their education, employment, training, and career experiences. The report was received by a total of 13,431 people. The report findings verify the pace of progress has been slow in addressing the lack of diversity in the genomics and genetics sector and reveals insights that underscore the challenges organizations must address to build a more diverse workforce.
“Across the biomedical field there is a need for expanding diversity of the scientific workforce,” said ASHG President Charles Rotimi, PhD. “The lack of diversity in the workforce impacts scientific innovation at every level along with global competitiveness and the ability to deliver new insights into human disease and health.”
With funding support by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), ASHG, in partnership with the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), and the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), conducted the survey to understand the demographics of the genetics and genomics workforce, as well as the climate and culture in training programs and the workplace. This work was done in collaboration with the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics (APHMG), the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG), and the Minority Genetic Professionals Network (MGPN).
“This report represents a collaborative and critical step the genetics and genomics professional societies have undertaken to survey our field,” Rotimi said. “Successful and pioneering research relies on the talent of the research workforce and the goal of this project is to assess the demographic landscape of the human genomics workforce and the factors affecting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field. Our field is only as strong as the individuals that contribute to shaping frontiers and maximizing the benefits of this science.”
“Increasing the diversity of the genomics research workforce begins with understanding the composition and underrepresentation of groups within the current workforce,” said Vence Bonham, NHGRI deputy director and acting head of NHGRI’s Training, Diversity and Health Equity Office. “NHGRI is proud to support this examination into the current state of the genomics workforce, and to look to ways to enhance the diversity of researchers and clinicians, including those from underrepresented groups. This is milestone report that illuminates the disparities and inequities within the genomics workforce.”
Major take-aways from the report include:
- The majority (73.3%) of survey respondents identified as U.S. citizens. Approximately 78 percent were employed in a permanent position. Genetic counseling (45.7%), research (30.4%), and academic (23.4%) were the top three primary areas of work for employed respondents.
- The genetics and genomics workforce is predominantly homogeneous with 67.0% of respondents identifying their race, ethnicity, or ancestry as White. Additional self-reported races, ethnicities, or ancestries (17.5%) include Asian (7.4%); Black, African American, or African (1.5%); Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish (2.0%); Middle Eastern or North African (1.1%); American Indian or Alaska Native (<1%); Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (<1%); and Multiracial (4.8% ).
- Women made up the majority of survey respondents (74.7%). Additionally, 23.3% of respondents identified as men and 0.5% identified as nonbinary or transgender. 228 (6.9%) reported identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA).
For more information on this report, please review the Key Takeaways document.
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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 community of 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://wptest.ashg.org.