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ELSI Friday Forum: Structural Racism and Genomics in the Time of COVID
ELSI Friday Forum is a monthly one-hour seminar series featuring topics on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetics and genomics research. Join us from 12:00-1:00 pm ET / 9:00-10:00 am PT on the second Friday of each month for talks and panels on a broad array of issues, explored through an ELSI lens.

On November 13, join us for a conversation on “Structural Racism and Genomics in the Time of COVID,” with Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, PhD, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at George Washington University and Vence L. Bonham, Jr, JD, Senior Advisor to the NHGRI Director on Genomics and Health Disparities and Associate Investigator, Social and Behavioral Research Branch at NHGRI.

The 30th anniversary of the Human Genome Project comes at a moment of unprecedented international crisis. The coronavirus now accounts for over one million deaths worldwide and has ravaged communities of color in the US, disproportionately killing Black and Brown Americans at rates two to four times the national average. While we know that these elevated deaths are influenced by social determinants of health and systemic bias, some look to genetics to explain these inequalities. As scholars and researchers committed to the study of the ethical, legal and social implications of genetics (ELSI), how can we address entrenched inequities revealed by the catastrophic toll of the pandemic? What does it mean for racism to be structural in ELSI research? And, what would constitute a justice-forward genomics research agenda? In our inaugural ELSI Friday Forum, Professor Sandra Soo-Jin Lee (Columbia University) will moderate a discussion with Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew (George Washington University Law School) and Dr. Vence Bonham (National Human Genome Research Institute) on structural racism in the context of developments in human genetics.

Nov 13, 2020 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dayna Bowen Matthew
Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law @George Washington University Law School
Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, PhD, is the Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. Dean Matthew is a leader in public health and civil rights law who focuses on racial disparities in health care. She is the author of the book Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care. Dean Matthew also has taken on many public policy roles. In 2013, she co-founded the Colorado Health Equity Project, a medical-legal partnership incubator aimed at removing barriers to good health for low-income clients by providing legal representation, research, and policy advocacy. In 2015, she served as the Senior Adviser to the Director of the Office of Civil Rights for the US Environmental Protection Agency, where she expedited cases on behalf of historically vulnerable communities besieged by pollution. She then became a member of the health policy team for US Senator Debbie Stabenow and worked on public health issues.
Vence L. Bonham
Senior Advisor to the NHGRI Director on Genomics and Health Disparities and Associate Investigator, Social & Behavioral Research @National Human Genome Research Institute
Vence Bonham is currently an associate investigator in the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) within the Division of Intramural Research's Social and Behavioral Research Branch. He leads the Health Disparities Unit, which investigates the equitable integration of new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings. His research focuses primarily on the social implications of new genomic knowledge, particularly in communities of color. He studies how genomics influences the use of the constructs of race and ethnicity in biomedical research and clinical care, and the role of genomics in exacerbating or ameliorating health inequities. The Bonham group also studies sickle cell disease, a condition that will be impacted by emerging curative genomic technologies, but has faced significant health disparities both in the United States and globally.