Our mission

The mission of the Personal Genetics Education Project is to increase awareness and conversation about the benefits and ethical, legal, and social implications of personal genetics. We aim to be inclusive of all voices in these discussions, regardless of socioeconomic, educational, ethnic, religious, or cultural background. We strive to instill confidence in individuals to ask questions, make informed decisions, and respect the opinions of others. Our strategy is varied and includes:

Educating through schools

pgEd creates lesson plans for high school and college educators. Our resources are accessible to general audiences without a scientific background and are designed for teachers from all disciplines, including biology, social studies, law, government, health, humanities, and bioethics. We also visit classrooms and offer professional development workshops that empower teachers to integrate these materials into their classrooms.

For information or support in using our materials, please contact Lauren Tomaselli at ltomaselli@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Engaging policymakers through a series of Congressional briefings

pgEd is organizing a series of Congressional briefings, co-hosted by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Elizabeth Warren, to engage our nation’s lawmakers on the importance of raising public awareness. Our first five briefings have filled the room for discussions of scientific advances in and ethical questions raised by precision medicine, gene editing, Ebola, microbial genomics, forensics, non-invasive prenatal testing, and DNA nanotechnology.

For more information about this series, please contact Marnie Gelbart at mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Working with producers and writers in the film and television industry

pgEd is working with Hollywood, Health & Society as well as The Science & Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences to raise awareness through television and film. pgEd has consulted on television shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Perception, and Elementary, which can reach millions within a single hour. We have also advised writers on script development, participated in writers retreats, and served as a juror for the Sloan Prize at Sundance.

For more information on this series, please contact Marnie Gelbart at mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Convening leaders to accelerate efforts to raise awareness

pgEd organizes conferences to bring together experts from healthcare, research, education, business, government, television and film, and communities of faith to explore strategies for tackling the gap in trust, awareness, and conversation about personal genetics between well-served and underserved communities. Our 2016 Industry Forum for Forging Community Partnerships included leadership from top genetics, genomics, and gene editing companies.

For more information on the Industry Forum, please contact Johnny Kung at jkung@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Engaging our communities in libraries, churches, museums, and other forums

pgEd leads conversations in libraries, in faith communities, at museums, and at science cafés. As we expand these efforts, we are building new resources for disseminating information and fostering discussion in these forums. We are partnering with the Cornerstones of Science to engage librarians and library communities, and developing collaborations to scale our efforts in other venues.

For more information on requesting a classroom visit, please email Johnny Kung at jkung@pged.med.harvard.edu

Creating online platforms to engage audiences through social media

pgEd is expanding an online tool called Map-Ed that invites players to work through short quizzes on key concepts and topics in genetics and then pin themselves on a world map. To date, Map-Ed has 15,000 pins, spread to all 7 continents, and includes pins from pioneers in Antarctica and the Curiosity rover on Mars. Map-Ed has been featured at the Smithsonian’s Unlocking Life’s Code exhibit and in a video by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

Interested in contributing to Map-Ed? Please contact Marnie Gelbart at mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Developing on-line videos, “Personal Conversations/Personal Genetics”

enrique-TbpgEd has launched a video series, called “Personal Conversations/Personal Genetics,” produced by Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Marilyn Ness and Big Mouth Productions. The 15 video vignettes relate insights, experiences, and visions for the future of personal genetics. They pose questions for which there are no simple answers and invite viewers to “join the conversation.”

For more information about the videos, please contact Marnie Gelbart at mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu.

Other pgEd activities

siteIconOther pgEd staff activities include serving on the education advisory board for the Smithsonian’s Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code exhibit, serving on the Education & Information Committee for the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), organizing a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything series in partnership with the ASHG and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and publishing articles on raising awareness of personal genetics.

Interested in collaborating with pgEd? Please contact Marnie Gelbart at mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu or Johnny Kung at jkung@pged.med.harvard.edu.