Washington, DC - September 02, 2009 - Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics has named Joan Scott, deputy director of its Genetics and Public Policy Center (GPPC), to replace Kathy Hudson as director of the Center. Hudson has been tapped as chief of staff and senior advisor to the Director for the National Institutes of Health. The changes are effective September 2, 2009.
To inform genetic policy decisions, the Center publishes reports, peer-reviewed articles, and op-eds on the scientific, legal, ethical and policy issues raised by human genetic technologies. The Center also conducts extensive research on public attitudes about emerging genetic technologies and sponsors an array of activities and events to facilitate ongoing discussions about these topics. GPPC is widely regarded one of Washington’s most important sources of objective policy analysis on genetics.
Scott is a certified genetic counselor with more than 30 years of experience in clinical genetics, the biotechnology industry, and genetic policy whose career has focused on the application of genomic discoveries to healthcare. Prior to joining the Center in 2002, she was a director in the genomics company GeneLogic, Inc., where she oversaw the operations of a large biobank for use in genomic discovery. She also served as general manager and director of genetic services for the clinical diagnostic lab OncorMed from 1994-1998. Clinically, she has practiced in a variety of academic, outreach, and private practice settings including pediatric, adult, and reproductive genetic clinics, and oversaw the genetic counseling training program at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (1984-1989). She is a past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, and helped set certification standards for genetic counselors while serving on the American Board of Genetic Counselors. Her research interests include genetic counseling and genetic testing; public, researcher, and healthcare provider attitudes about the applications of genomic research on health care; and the use of direct-to-consumer genetic testing services. She holds an M.S. (Human Genetics Program) from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in Anthropology and Zoology from Kent State University. Scott holds certification from the American Board of Medical Genetics, sub specializing in Genetic Counseling.
Scott currently serves on the Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention Working Group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society, Task Force on DTC Genetic Testing; the Maryland Insurance Administration Workgroup on Genetic Testing; the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Human Biobank Administrative Working Group; the Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine Advisory Committee at the University of California San Francisco; and the Genetic Alliance Biobank Advisory Board. She is a former member of the Ferre Institute Board of Directors.
At GPPC, in addition to her duties as deputy director she has provided leadership for the Center’s research on public participation in genetic research. The Center recently received a $1.6M award from the National Human Genome Research Institute to continue to explore public attitudes about the expected benefits of participating in genetic research, the nature of the relationship between researchers and research subjects, and perspectives on disclosing, receiving, and using genetic information collected or discovered as part of a large cohort study.
Hudson is GPPC’s founding director and an Associate Professor in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Institute of Genetic Medicine, and the Department of Pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University. Hudson founded the Center with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts to fill an important niche in the science policy landscape and to focus exclusively on public policy issues raised by advances in human genetics. Before founding the Genetics and Public Policy Center, Hudson was the Assistant Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) responsible for communications, legislation, planning, and education activities. She provided focus and leadership in public policy and public affairs issues for NHGRI programs including the Human Genome Project, and spearheaded efforts to prevent genetic discrimination. Previously, Hudson served as a senior policy analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services and worked on Capitol Hill. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College.
“Joan will continue to provide the vision and management that has made GPPC such a successful agent of change in human genetic policy, and we are delighted she has accepted the position of director,” said Ruth Faden, director of the Berman Bioethics Institute. “We have every expectation that the Center will remain a major player at the critical intersection of genetic science and public policy.”
“At the same time,” Faden noted, “we’re thrilled for Kathy as she returns to national service in the Obama Administration, and owe her a debt of gratitude – both for more than seven years of leadership at GPPC, and as one of the nation’s most important voices on genetic privacy, genetic testing regulation, and personalized medicine.”
Genomics is profoundly changing how we practice medicine, she explains. The Center plays an important role in monitoring the translation of genetic discoveries into routine medical care, and in identifying and understanding how Americans can tap their personal genetic information safely and securely to improve health.” While human genetic technologies already have changed the face of modern medicine, she notes, “the pace of scientific advancement far outstrips policy change,” Scott explained. “We also have a continuing mission at GPPC to provide the policy advice and legal and legislative analysis required to help policymakers make sense of new findings in genetics.”
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