Personal Genetics Education Project

Graffiti of DNA - by Kim PiotrowskiOur mission:

pgEd’s mission is to increase public awareness of the capacity of personal genetics to promote health and human welfare. To this end, pgEd fosters informed discussion of the benefits that can come from knowing one’s genome as well as the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of such knowledge.

Objectives:

  • To engage all audiences, regardless of socioeconomic, educational, ethnic, religious, or cultural background;
  • To instill confidence in individuals to ask questions, form opinions, and make choices;
  • To promote acceptance of diversity.

Strategies:

Educating through schools
We develop and share – free of charge – high quality and scientifically precise lesson plans related to personal genetics. We also offer professional development workshops that train teachers to integrate these materials into their classrooms. For teachers seeking information or support in using our materials, please contact Lauren Tomaselli at ltomaselli@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Engaging the public
The curricular materials and additional resources on our website provide educational information for people interested in learning about personal genetics. Our outreach efforts include speaking at conferences, giving lectures and workshops, and visiting high school and college classrooms in person, as well as via videoconferencing. For more information on requesting a visit, please email Dana Waring at dwaring@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Accelerating awareness
pgEd is engaged in the following initiatives for accelerating public awareness about personal genetics. If you are interested to participate in the next GETed conference or collaborate with pgEd, please contact Marnie Gelbart at mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu.

» Interfacing with producers and writers in the entertainment industry
pgEd is working with producers and writers through Hollywood, Health & Society at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, the Science & Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences and Shaftesbury Productions of Canada to introduce genetic concepts and inform the public about how to interpret genetic information.

» Map-Ed Genetics
In March 2013, pgEd launched the Map-Ed game to infuse a viral energy into personal genetics education. Available at Map-Ed.org, Map-Ed invites players to work through a short quiz on key concepts in genetics and pin themselves on our map of the world. Map-Ed is designed to be accessible to a general audience and, in its first three months, has spread across all 7 continents, 55 countries, and the 50 U.S. states. Currently, we are expanding Map-Ed to include new questions and translations. Click here to see the interactive map and a timeline of Map-Ed milestones.

» Smithsonian’s Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code
pgEd serves on the education advisory board for the newly opened exhibition entitled Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History. This exhibit, developed in partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), celebrates the discovery of DNA and the completion of the Human Genome Project and illustrates the “increasing relevance of genomics in people’s lives.” pgEd’s Map-Ed genetics game is currently on display in the exhibit, which will be in Washington D.C. until September 2014 and then travel around the U.S. for the following four years.

» GETed Conference
pgEd organizes the GETed conference, which brings together experts in education, genetics research, health, entertainment, and policy to brainstorm strategies for raising awareness about personal genetics. For the past two years, we have held GETed in conjunction with the Personal Genome Project’s Genomes Environments Traits (GET) Conference in order to inspire an atmosphere for tackling current educational challenges with an eye to future demands as genomics expands into new domains. GETed embraces a ‘let’s-get-it-done’ attitude towards developing new educational tools, networks, and collaborations that will advance the mission of accelerating awareness.

 

photo by Kim Piotrowski, www.kipi.etsy.com