Illumina, Invitae Founding Members of ASHG’s Genetics and Genomics Impact Partnerships Program

January 31, 2022

By Bio-IT World Staff

January 31, 2022 | The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) today announced the launch of the ASHG Genetics and Genomics Impact Partnerships program. Illumina, a leader in next-generation genomic sequencing technologies, and Invitae, a leading medical genetics company, have joined as founding partners. 

“The opportunity to apply human genetics and genomics research to build a more equitable world is urgent and ASHG is grateful for Illumina’s and Invitae’s support to help drive progress forward.” said ASHG President Charles Rotimi, PhD in a press release. “The commitment we’re sharing will help the researchers of today and tomorrow to make new discoveries that serve populations worldwide, apply genetics knowledge in more just and equitable ways, and inspire and support others to join the field. We thank these organizations for their tireless dedication to equity as we work toward a better future together.”

As the world’s largest professional organization for human genetics and genomics, ASHG believes itself to be uniquely positioned to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in human genetics and genomics research on a global scale. The Society is working strategically and programmatically to expand participation and strengthen careers of researchers from diverse backgrounds, sustain emphasis on increasing diversity and inclusion in research cohorts, and develop a knowledge network and professional education for researchers. 

Knowing that collective effort is required to ensure all people benefit from genetics and genomics research, ASHG Impact Partners include organizations likewise dedicated to advancing DEI in human genetics and genomics. Through their financial contributions, Impact Partners support the ASHG Fund for Equity in Genetics and Genomics Research, which helps the Society to design innovative programs with demonstrable impacts on DEI; enhance capacity to expand DEI efforts in future years; and sustain DEI programs and initiatives. 

Joining as founding Impact Partners, Illumina and Invitae recognize the critical importance of advancing DEI in the field of human genetics and genomics. 

“At Illumina, we recognize that our efforts to improve human health can be magnified if all people and places have access to genomic technology,” said Illumina’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Lisa Toppin, EdD in the same statement. “We know that there are still significant gaps in access to genomic technology, personalized medicine, and even representative data to understand genomes in the context of global diversity. Through this exciting new partnership with ASHG, we will continue to close those gaps to increase access, improve the equity of representation, and expand the transformative benefits of genomics for all.” 

““We are proud to support this initiative which aligns with our mission to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare for billions of people,” added Invitae’s Chief Medical Officer Robert Nussbaum, MD. “The era of Genome Management is now here, and equity in genomics is paramount in order to transform the way medicine is practiced.”

As part of this historic partnership, ASHG and Impact Partners will meet periodically to share knowledge and experiences and learn about effective DEI strategies that institutions and individual researchers can implement to advance more inclusive and equitable workforces and research study populations.

“We remain focused on fostering enduring change in the human genetics and genomic field and our newest partnership with Illumina and Invitae will further that effort,” Rotimi said. “Recruiting, retaining and engaging a robustly diverse and inclusive human genetics community is essential to identifying and addressing the profound questions in human genetics and advancing health equity, and everyone has a role to play in this critical mission.”