The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has honored Janina Jeff (photo), PhD, MS, as the 2020 recipient of the Society’s Advocacy Award (https://www.ashg.org/membership/awards/advocacy/). Dr. Jeff is the host and executive producer of “In Those Genes,” described as “a hip-hop inspired podcast that uses genetics to uncover the lost identities of African descended Americans through the lens of Black Culture.” You may view sample podcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BldybNBDqv0. Dr. Jeff is a Senior Scientist at Illumina, a company at the intersection of biology and technology. This award, which includes a plaque with a $10,000 prize, honors individuals or groups who have exhibited excellence and achievement in applications of human genetics for the common good, in areas such as facilitating public awareness of genetics issues, promoting funding for biomedical research, and integrating genetics into health systems. “Dr. Janina Jeff’s groundbreaking podcast ‘In Those Genes’ has provided fundamental insight into genetics and the exploration of the lost identities of African-descended Americans through the lens of Black culture,” said ASHG President Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “She is also an inspiring leader with a deep commitment to educating others and is a very important spokesperson in human genetics for a wider audience beyond scientists.” “In the wake of COVID-19, the podcast has quickly evolved as a forum dispensing scientific and medical truths and dispelling rumors and conspiracy theories circulating in the Black community on social media,” said Dana Crawford, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Services, Case Western University, in her nomination letter. Dr. Crawford concludes her nomination letter by noting that “’In Those Genes’ addresses issues of direct interest to a group often neglected in general science or genealogy podcasts: the Black audience.
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