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Inclusive Public Engagement for Geneticists

GSA and pgEd logosGSA and the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd) of Harvard Medical School have partnered to build public dialogue about genetic technologies. Our joint programs aim to better equip scientists to engage in discussions about genetics with all communities, with special emphasis on those who have been marginalized, economically disadvantaged, or otherwise excluded from conversations about science. Learn more about the partnership ≫

WEBINAR SERIES

Meeting the Moment: strategies for contributing to a broad conversation on genetics and society

Upcoming webinars in this series

Discussing Genetics: Exploring Human Sex Variation through Athletics
December 15, 2021, 12:00-1:30 p.m. EST

Athletics events (commonly referred to as track and field in the US) are often divided into men’s and women’s categories to provide fair competition, but efforts to define who qualifies to compete in the women’s events have been fraught with controversy. Since the 1940’s, athletics governing bodies have required competitors in women’s events to prove themselves female (first through anatomical exam, then through DNA-based tests, and now through testosterone levels), but differences in sex development mean that some individuals do not fit neatly into the male-female binary.

Join pgEd to learn about their experiences with using athletics as a lens through which to explore the complexity of human sex variation. The webinar will include:

  • Key considerations when discussing human sex variation
  • Discussion strategies for engaging broad audiences and handling difficult moments
  • An introduction to pgEd’s lesson on sex, genetics, and athletics
  • Interactive discussion and modeling of pgEd’s conversation starters

Who should attend: Genetics or biology researchers or educators of any career stage, including students, postdocs, and faculty

Speakers from pgEd:
Robin Bowman, M.Ed.
Marnie Gelbart, PhD

Invited Guest:
Bria Brown-King, Director of Engagement, interACT

Register

 

Building meaningful community partnerships: Co-creating educational programs that engage deaf and ASL-signing students
TBD, Winter 2022

Speakers from pgEd:
Marnie Gelbart, PhD
Dana Waring, M.L.A.

Invited Guests:
Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Bioethicist, Gallaudet University
Rachel Boll, M.A., Co-Director of the ASL Education Center
Derek Braun, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Genetics, Gallaudet University
Jeanne Reis, M.Ed., Co-Director of the ASL Education Center

 

Past Events

Discussing Genetics: Genome Editing and the Environment

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May 12, 2021, 12:00–1:30 p.m. EDT

The emergence of genome editing technologies, such as CRISPR, have opened new possibilities for engineering the world around us. Scientists are considering ways to apply these tools to address agricultural and environmental issues—modifying crops (for herbicide tolerance, drought resistance, and so on), gene drives to counter vector-borne diseases (e.g., malaria), and even reviving extinct species. Some hail the use of these approaches, while others worry about unintended consequences of these ecosystem-changing actions.

Join pgEd to learn about their experiences and strategies for engaging with broad audiences in sensitive conversations about genome editing and the environment. The webinar will include:

  • Key considerations when discussing genome editing and the environment
  • Discussion strategies for engaging broad audiences and handling difficult moments
  • An introduction to pgEd’s lesson on genome editing and the environment
  • Interactive discussion and modelling of pgEd’s conversation starters
Discussing Genetics: Reproductive Genetics

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Wednesday April 14, 2021, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT

Reproductive genetic technologies, including preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), can allow people to learn more about the DNA of an embryo or fetus than ever before. For some people, genetic testing in reproductive healthcare provides an important decision-making tool; for some, these tests raise a suite of practical, ethical, moral, and religious questions. And the advent of CRISPR is bringing hopes for a new generation of genetic therapies as well as concerns that germline editing could lead to a new eugenics, exacerbating disparities and stigmatizing people living with perceived disabilities.

Join pgEd to learn about their experiences and strategies for engaging with broad audiences — from high school students to communities of faith — in sensitive conversations about reproductive genetics. The webinar will include:

  • Key considerations when discussing reproductive genetic testing
  • Discussion strategies for engaging broad audiences and handling difficult moments
  • An introduction to pgEd’s lesson on reproductive genetic testing
  • Interactive discussion and modelling of pgEd’s conversation starters
Discussing Genetics: History of Eugenics

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March 10, 2021, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST

The history of genetics is deeply entwined with the eugenics movement. Some fear that today’s genetic advances, despite the great potential for societal benefits, could lead to a new era of eugenics. How can geneticists invite inclusive discussions on this important topic in our classrooms, labs, and communities? Join pgEd to learn about their experiences and strategies for engaging with broad audiences — from high school students to communities of faith — in sensitive conversations about genetics and the history of eugenics. The webinar will include:

  • Key considerations when approaching the history of eugenics
  • Discussion strategies for engaging broad audiences and handling difficult moments
  • An introduction to the history of eugenics, as presented in a pgEd lesson
  • How pgEd has adapted their lessons to include more diverse communities and perspectives
  • Interactive discussion and modelling of pgEd’s conversation starters

Who should attend: Genetics or biology researchers or educators of any career stage, including students, postdocs, and faculty

Video Highlights from Previous Webinars

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