ASHG Fosters New Ways to Engage Fellow Members and the Public

Posted by Mona Miller, Chief Executive Officer

The last 18 months have only accelerated changes in how we communicate, engage colleagues, and learn. While we know that in-person learning and networking will remain crucial for the human genetics and genomics community—and we look forward to a vibrant return for ASHG’s in-person annual meeting—the Society is also accelerating our expansion of innovative platforms to disseminate science, engage one another, and share valuable information.

As part of the Society’s Strategic Plan, we had already begun a major expansion of year-round digital programming and learning. Today, those programs are reaching thousands of field members through webinars, editorial chats, and podcasts, and we thank the Illumina Corporate Foundation for its partnership on this effort. This fall, we are excited to be enhancing these programs through a new and more robust online learning center, plus we have recently launched new efforts to engage members and connect with the public to celebrate and learn about genetics research and share new science. So what’s new in digital ASHG?

Resources for the Public: We are excited to announce the launch of Discover Genetics, a new and expanding website section devoted to communicating about human genetics concepts to provide information to the general public about humanity’s diversity and our shared genetic heritage as a single species. A project of ASHG’s Public Education and Awareness Committee, the pages will build over time, sharing resources from ASHG and other valued partners, all guided by the committee. In addition to allowing visitors to explore genetics concepts, Discover Genetics encourages fundamental understanding of DNA and diversity and variation among humans. Interactive and animated core concepts guide visitors through the building blocks of genetic code to better understand how genes help shape traits and health.

Discover Genetics also provides tools for educators to engage students at all stages of learning about human genetics with dedicated online and classroom exercises, and it houses existing programs such as the DNA Day Essay Contest and the GENE Network. The section will also highlight members from all career stages and backgrounds sharing why human genetics research is meaningful. This is one of the ways we are sharing the contributions of our members and the field’s dedication to realizing the benefits of human genetics research.

Engaging Members: Another exciting addition to ASHG’s website is a new community portal for members, ASHG Connect. This online platform was created by ASHG’s Member Engagement Committee to provide a space for members to connect, communicate and collaborate with their peers. In addition to the open communities, ASHG Connect also has three Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) available for members to forge deeper conversations on topics that are reoccurring themes in the field. Here members can share articles for commentary, discuss new research and take part in cross lab collaborations that will lead to new discoveries. Each week brings new topics featuring members discussing their work. I urge everyone to subscribe.

As always, we encourage you to stay up to date with emerging science at ASHG’s leading journals The American Journal of Human Genetics and the fully-open access Human Genetics and Genomics Advances, and to share your latest discoveries through them.  And ASHG will continue to share the latest ASHG news through our online news page, which contains online content such as technical tips, press releases, featured members and products, as well as our regular member-only newsletters for all members, early career scientists, advocates and educators.

Like the field we are honored to serve, ASHG is dedicated to advancing human genetics and genomics research and we strive to serve you by staying current on technology and knowledge sharing strategies.  The Board continues to explore ways we can connect each other and with the larger public in new ways.  We look forward to continuing to realizing this bright future with you.

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