Blog Post March 29, 2021

Introduction: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) blog series

The Clinical & Continuing Education team at The Jackson Laboratory is excited to announce a new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion series within our blog communications with healthcare providers. We recognize that there is a lot to learn, and much we can do to make access to and participation in genetic services more equitable. We have been delving into resources within the genetics community and the healthcare community at large, and admittedly, it is overwhelming. To help guide these efforts, we plan to engage with experts interested in raising awareness and moving forward with initiatives to address diversity, equity and inclusion in genetic care. We want to explore areas where genomic medicine has fallen short across all communities of color, the (dis)ability community and others whose voices need to be heard. We hope to engage diverse perspectives on how we can address these issues together. The goal is to help clinicians recognize areas for improvement, employ creative solutions, and provide genomic care that meets each individual’s needs.

A DEI blog series about genetics in healthcare

We recognize that the national conversation on DEI issues is active and evolving. This means our plans for blogs and other educational activities will change, and the approach to each topic will also shift as important viewpoints and concerns come to our collective awareness. Working with our partners, we plan to explore:

  1. Lack of genetic diversity in research

    How do existing gaps in data about genomic variation in non-white populations affect the usefulness of genomic testing? What are the limitations of polygenic risk scores when data from diverse populations are not included in developing the scoring system? How can we be culturally sensitive about increased genetic risk in specific populations?
  2. Practicing culturally competent genomic medicine

    How can healthcare providers collect family history in a culturally sensitive manner? What resources can providers rely on to help them practice culturally competent genomic medicine?
  3. Structural racism and unconscious bias in genetic medicine

    How do unconscious bias and structural racism affect referrals of Black, Indigenous and all people of color to genetic services? Can we decrease cancer health disparities by broadening our understanding of risk for hereditary cancer syndromes?
  4. Engaging Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in genomic medicine

    Do BIPOC individuals have unique concerns about engaging in consumer genomic testing or population genomic projects? Will addressing diversity in the genetic workforce be a step towards an increased readiness for patients to voice these concerns?
  5. How can we foster trust in genetic care and genomic medicine in the post-eugenics era?

    How much does the history of eugenics in the U.S. affect acceptance of genetic medicine? How do we move past the history to build trust?

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