A New Genomics Institute at Sarah Lawrence College

On November 18, 2021, President Cristle Collins Judd announced the launch of a new genomics institute at Sarah Lawrence College. 

Sarah Lawrence College has a long history of identifying critical societal needs and responding with innovative educational programs. This was the case 50 years ago when the College established the first ever graduate program in Human Genetics. That program created an entirely new field in healthcare—genetic counseling—drawing on the disciplines of psychology, ethics, advocacy, biology, and medicine in a manner that thoroughly embodied the College’s philosophy of education and humanistic values. Today, the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics remains the largest program in the U.S., having graduated more than 1,000 genetic counselors.

We are living today in a moment that is crying out for similar intervention. In response to the rapid proliferation and ubiquitous deployment of genomic technologies—technologies that hold extraordinary potential for improving human well-being but that also carry profound ethical and societal implications—the College is extending its efforts to meet these new challenges. The result: the creation of a genomics institute at Sarah Lawrence.

About the genomics institute

The mission of Sarah Lawrence's genomics institute is to build a world in which all people have access to the benefits of genetic and genomic science.

The institute is an inclusive educational community of individuals committed to the ethical, equitable, and effective integration of genomic technologies into society, built on the belief that we can achieve a world where all people have access to tailored, person-centered healthcare. The institute enables this future by building a diverse, compassionate, thriving workforce, creating professional development opportunities, promoting thought leadership, and fostering community among genetics and genomics professionals.

Expanding on Sarah Lawrence College’s long history of educating genetic counselors, the institute serves as a center of thought leadership in genomics that trains professionals through a portfolio of continuing education, certificates, and degrees geared towards learners across many stages of their professional journeys. The institute works hand-in-hand with industry and community partners to build cutting-edge academic programs that target workforce-related bottlenecks in the delivery of precision medicine at all stages of the human life cycle.

Recognizing the rapid pace of technological change in genomics, the institute also maintains a commitment to lifelong engagement and nurturing of a learning and evolving community, facilitated by continuous engagement with external partners who will advise on the continued evolution of the institute’s educational programming. Most importantly, the institute is deeply devoted to building the diverse workforce capacity needed to improve access to care, reduce health disparities in the delivery of genetic and genomic information, and realize the promise of genomic innovation for all people who stand to benefit from it. 

The genomics institute is...

  • A center committed to thought leadership
  • An administrative home for a portfolio of new graduate/professional and non-degree academic programs
  • A committed advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all programs
  • A home for the continuing education of genetic counselors and other genetic and genomic professionals 
  • An academic partner to industry and non-profit organizations across the genomics landscape