The NIH "All of Us" Project

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to participate on a panel at a workshop for the "All of Us" project. This NIH project (formerly referred to as the Precision Medicine Initiative) is in its early planning stages and aims to engage a million Americans from diverse ethnic backgrounds in large-scale genomics research.

The workshop was live-streamed and recordings are available for public viewing here: https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=21883&bhcp=1. The panel I participated on focused on "non-clinical" DNA results (the DNA findings that aren't directly health related, like ancestry). My presentation shows up around 4:34:59. AncestryDNA's CEO Ken Chahine spoke immediately before me and had some astounding information about the projected growth of their DNA database. There may be 5 million testers in their database by the end of 2017!   

The group of researchers moving the "All of Us" project forward are hard-working experts in their given fields, all with a common goal of making genomic discoveries available to and applicable to all. I can't wait to watch this project develop and hope I get the chance to participate once recruitment begins. 

Discussions on Policy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)

Photo courtesy Tiffany Showalter

Photo courtesy Tiffany Showalter

You can tweet, post on Facebook, and have discussion with other people about anything you want. But the key to influencing what happens in your country and the world is getting involved in policy efforts at the national and/or state level.

I was honored to be a part of a panel of speakers at James Madison University last week to discuss issues related to the intersection of STEM and civic engagement & policy. The students and community members were attentive, and their thoughtful questions gave me reason to pause and think and reflect on the challenges in science policy facing our world in the twenty-first century. 

How are you going to make a difference at what your state and country’s policy says about issues related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? The world our children inherit is determined by the policies written today.

Photo courtesy Tiffany Showalter

Photo courtesy Tiffany Showalter




Genomics Discussions in the NYMAC region

I look forward to participating in the 2016 NYMAC Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. After introducing the topic of technical assistance and genetic counseling assistants, I'll share the platform with fellow genetic counselor, Beth Vogel. Beth has been a pioneer in the creation of Genetic Counseling Assistant positions at her institution. This topic of expanding the career choices for people interested in genetics and genetic counseling is one about which I have written in the past.

Looking forward to a lively and engaging discussion with genetic counselors and geneticists in attendance in Baltimore tomorrow!  


The conference took place at the Baltimore Grand hotel & conference center. Stained glass window enthusiasts, this place is a must-see on any trip you make to Baltimore! 

The conference took place at the Baltimore Grand hotel & conference center. Stained glass window enthusiasts, this place is a must-see on any trip you make to Baltimore! 

Virginia Association of Genetic Counselors hosts one-day genetics conference

Virginia is for genetics lovers! The Virginia Association of Genetic Counselors hosted its 10th annual meeting for genetics education in beautiful and historic Charlottesville, Virginia on May 16th, 2016.  Watershed DNA founder, Brianne Kirkpatrick, engaged a rapt audience as she presented on opportunities for genetic counselors to meet the needs of home DNA test customers.

The conference sold out two weeks beforehand, so make sure to book your registration early next year!