A Pilot Public Health Genetics Seminar on Race and Genetics

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Full Description

Video Presentation


  • Priyanka Murali, Public Health Genetics, UW Seattle
  • Alyna Khan, Public Health Genetics, UW Seattle


Adequate exposure to the issues of race and racism in genetics of graduate training programs is lacking. To address this issue, two students from the Public Health Genetics (PHG) program designed a pilot race and genetics summer seminar for PHG students and alumni, developed a system for PHG curriculum evaluation, and designed an exit survey to determine perceived utility of the seminar.

The seminar was meant to encourage cross-generational dialogue and expose participants to different forms of implementation of PHG in the community. On average, 13 participants attended each seminar session and were respondents in the exit survey, which evaluated participant perspectives on the seminar.

The content of the seminar included: the ideology of race; race, medicine, genetics, and research; health disparities and the role of genetics; genetic ancestry; and core PHG course reflection. The goal was to examine historical and current perspectives on race and genetics, the conflation of the two concepts, and how to use scientific inquiry to reverse racist agendas and misconceptions perpetuated by science.

We designed an exit survey to systematically evaluate perceived utility of the RGSS. The responses indicated that participants’ perceptions about race, racism, and genetics changed and that they gained knowledge about these topic areas. In the free response sections, participants shared insights on the most and least helpful aspects of RGSS and provided suggestions for how to incorporate concepts learned in the seminar into the broader PHG training program.

Though the RGSS was designed for PHG students, the content and framework are simple to apply in other training programs. The moderated group discussion, coursework evaluation, and seminar evaluation through the exit survey are three aspects of the framework developed during this seminar that can be widely applied to explore similar discussions regarding race and racism in other graduate and professional training programs.

Poster PDF

View a PDF version of the poster in Google Drive to enlarge the image or download a copy.


The presenter for this poster will be available to respond to comments during Poster Session 1 on April 20, 2:00-2:50 p.m.