Personal Genetics Education Project
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Congressional Briefing

May 13, 2014 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Personal genetics:

Scientific advances and accelerating public awareness

A Congressional briefing
Organized by the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd), Harvard Medical School

in cooperation with the Office of the Honorable Louise M. Slaughter, House of Representatives

Focusing on raising public awareness of personal genetics, this briefing will consist of three parts. We will begin by highlighting exciting developments in the fields of genetics, personalized medicine, and genetic engineering (no background in genetics necessary), describing how they are transforming health and reproductive medicine, law, business, sports, and employment. This introduction will also tackle ethical and social issues related to genetic technologies. The briefing will then illustrate the strategies that pgEd has found especially effective in reaching the public. Finally, drawing from the knowledge of Congressional members and staffers about their constituencies, the briefing will address how best to coordinate efforts for accelerating public awareness. Experts who will facilitate discussions include:

  • Genetics:
    George Church, Professor, Harvard Medical School and MIT; Director of the NIH Center of Excellence in Genomic Science; Director of the Personal Genome Project
    Heidi Rehm, Chief Laboratory Director, Partners Healthcare Laboratory for Molecular Medicine; Associate Professor of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
    Jeff Schloss, Director, Division of Genome Sciences, NIH/NHGRI
    Ting Wu, Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Personal Genetics Education Project
  • Education: Michael Dougherty, Director of Education, American Society of Human Genetics
  • Community and youth engagement: Enrique Legaspi, Chief of Staff,’s Foundation, Boyle Heights
  • Faith-based efforts: Amy Wilstermann, Associate Professor, Calvin College
  • Entertainment: Ann Merchant, Deputy Executive Director for Communications, The National Academies, The Science and Entertainment Exchange
  • Gaming, Map-Ed.orgCarlos Olguin, Head of Bio/Nano/Programmable Matter Group, Autodesk Research

Why: A safe and fair integration of genetics into society will require an informed public, one in which all individuals are aware of the benefits and implications of personal genetics. As the field of genetics is advancing at an unprecedented speed, the need to accelerate awareness is clear.

For further information, contact Marnie Gelbart at (617) 432-1797 or


May 13, 2014
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


Rayburn House Office Building, The Gold Room, Room 2168
Washington, DC, + Google Map