IHEC Officially Joins Global Alliance for Genomics and Health

August 14, 2017

The International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC) has joined the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) as an organizational member. GA4GH is an international coalition of nearly 500 leading organizations and more than 1000 individuals committed to improving human health through effective and responsible sharing of genomic and clinical data. A key component of its mission is to develop and showcase tangible, innovative standards and tools that respond to particular needs of the community and help advance the field of genomic medicine and science.

“Joining GA4GH was a natural step for IHEC,” said Dr Eric Marcotte of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Chair of the IHEC Executive Committee. “We share central values and views concerning the harmonized and ethically responsible sharing of data, the strength of international collaboration, and of course the exciting prospects (epi)genomic data analyses provide for future medical treatment. As an official member, we are now able to promote these common interests on an even larger scale and at the same time bring in the knowledge and experience from our different IHEC projects and working groups. In turn, I am convinced IHEC will benefit from the tools and expertise developed within GA4GH.”

IHEC’s organizational membership adds to the already existing involvement of individual representatives and institutions associated with IHEC that have been active across GA4GH in working groups, committees, or Demonstration Projects such as the Beacon Project and the Matchmaker Exchange. "Individuals within the IHEC community have been active contributors to GA4GH since its inception. Now as an organizational member, we anticipate even more collaboration and engagement between the two organizations." said Peter Goodhand, Executive Director of GA4GH.

With regard to the major areas of activity within GA4GH (i.e. standards for research and clinical data analysis and exchange), a focus has been set on participating in GA4GH Regulatory and Ethics discussions pertaining to the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomic data sharing (e.g. data access models and agreements). IHEC and GA4GH share many areas of common interest, and thus both foresee a very beneficial collaboration.