Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Group

Learn how GA4GH invests in equity, diversity, and inclusion

Our commitment

The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) can only achieve its vision — a truly global organisation, creating common standards used around the world — by investing in equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Founded on the human right to benefit from science, GA4GH has an imperative to produce globally impactful standards. That effort starts with our contributors. We believe that when we see equity, diversity, and inclusion reflected in our teams, we are more likely to see those principles reflected in our standards.

Peter Goodhand, GA4GH Chief Executive Officer

The benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion are clear, as are the drawbacks of homogeneity. For example, a lack of diverse data slows down life-saving improvements to health care. Striving to share scientific benefits equitably in a range of places produces more flexible standards, which are easier to adopt. Including neglected voices has attracted funding to problems that would otherwise go unnoticed or unresolved.

Yet people of Asian, African, Latino, Middle Eastern, Oceanic, and other Indigenous or non-European ancestries appear in a small percentage of genomic studies — despite making up most of the global population. Women and people from many marginalised groups are underrepresented among scientists and engineers. Individuals from countries of low- and middle-incomes, or where the primary language is not English, hold comparatively few positions in genomic initiatives.

GA4GH recognises that systemic barriers prevent these and other groups from participating fully in the genomics community. Towards eliminating barriers, the EDI Advisory Group works to institute a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion across GA4GH, intentionally engaging a wide range of voices in goal setting and leadership opportunities. The team advises the GA4GH community on how to consider equity, diversity, and inclusion when developing new standards, frameworks, and tools.

We welcome feedback on our practices and encourage partners and organisational members to incorporate equity, diversity, and inclusion in their work.

Reflected in our teams, reflected in our standards

Following a framework we call “reflected in our teams, reflected in our standards,” the GA4GH Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Group addresses EDI at different points in the product development process. If EDI concepts are incorporated successfully into our teams, then the interests of the broader community are more likely to be reflected in the product development process and in the standards, frameworks, and tools themselves.

The EDI Advisory Group was launched in May 2020 with the goal of recognizing and responding to EDI issues raised within the GA4GH community. This group supports GA4GH by finding equitable and inclusive ways to bring diverse ideas into the standards creation process. Pathways to EDI that the group explores include:

  • Identifying opportunities to attract diverse talent to the GA4GH community;
  • Helping new and existing contributors from all backgrounds feel welcomed and valued by the community; and
  • Ensuring equitable access to leadership and speaking opportunities within GA4GH.

See an archive of meeting minutes from all EDI Advisory Group and REWS Diversity Subgroup meetings.


Onboarding Programme

To ensure that new community members can engage and participate fully, the GA4GH EDI Advisory Group launched an onboarding program to help newcomers gain the knowledge they need to start participating fully in GA4GH Work Streams. To participate in the Onboarding Programme, email connor.graham (at) www.ga4gh.org.

Work Stream Best Practices

Under development with GA4GH Work Streams, the Best Practices document will provide contributors with suggestions for creating an inclusive working environment that facilitates diverse participation.

Living Definition of EDI

The EDI Advisory Group and REWS Diversity Subgroup developed a living definition of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). The definition is based on the understanding that EDI are three interrelated concepts that begin with the absence of exclusion and are founded upon an ethos of intention and advocacy. 

EDI Strategic Plan

This plan forges a path towards a more equitable, inclusive, and ethically sound genomics ecosystem. Developed collaboratively with valuable insights from the GA4GH community, this plan outlines three fundamental priorities that anchor our mission and shape our future initiatives.

Learn more about the EDI Advisory Group

8th Plenary keynote presentation

In this keynote presentation at the GA4GH 8th Plenary meeting, Laura Paglione discussed building an intentional community for standards development.

Building Intentional Communities

At the GA4GH 9th Plenary meeting, the EDI Advisory Group shared progress made to date.

Cambridge Genomics Meetup

The GA4GH Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Group gathered at a Cambridge Genomics meetup to share more about GA4GH, the EDI Advisory Group, and upcoming projects.

OmicsXchange Podcast Episode 9

In this interview on the GA4GH OmicsXchange podcast, Laura Paglione discusses the importance of amplifying underrepresented voices in the genomics and health data community.


Laura Paglione
Laura Paglione
Spherical Cow Group

EDI Lead

Provide feedback

Have a suggestion for how GA4GH can do better in its efforts toward equity, diversity, and inclusion?