Individuals from as far away as Australia gathered on Georgetown University’s campus Jan. 7-8 to discuss ways to protect the rights of indigenous communities in medical research, particularly with the advent of genetic and genomic technologies.
The event—co-sponsored by the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—brought together 12 health, legal, medical, and scientific experts to shed light on the subject.
Participants discussed a variety of challenges related to ensuring reciprocal benefits to indigenous populations and continued advancement in genomic science.
Some of those challenges include appreciation for cultural and spiritual traditions, past abuses by the scientific community, language barriers, and a lack of specific information about the benefits of genomic science to vulnerable communities.
Novel approaches to further genomic research include clinical workforce education and training for indigenous populations and scientists alike.
The 2009 forum follows up on several events that NHS and the O’Neill Institute have convened on genomics and personalized medicine and health care. This website has been developed as a repository for information on the topic, and includes the colloquium report, summary, pictures, and participant information, all available by clicking the links to the left.