Equity Working Group

The Equity Working Group (EqWG) promotes and supports progress towards equity in the HCA. The EqWG seeks to engage the global community spanning diverse geographic and ethnic groups to drive inclusive representation and participation, and promote equal benefit from the HCA. 

The EqWG’s initial focus is on empowerment to participate in the HCA through outreach, education, and training.  The EqWG is co-chaired by Alex K Shalek (shalek@mit.edu), Partha Majumder (parmaj2023@gmail.com) and Musa Mhlanga (musahca@mhlangalab.org).

The HCA Equity Working Group has released several publications and statements on its goals and activities:

HCA Diversity Task Force (DTF)

This task force will examine issues related to the tracking and sampling of diversity in HCA data. The responsibilities of this Task Force will be to develop recommendations for:

  • Appropriate metrics and resolutions for tracking genetic and geographical diversity in HCA;
  • HCA goals for genetic and geographical diversity, as well as a timeline for achieving the goals;
  • Ethically- and scientifically-appropriate processes for engaging underrepresented populations in sampling and monitoring efforts;
  • The use of diversity-related metadata across all HCA data platforms, including appropriate metadata fields, definitions, and/or ontologies.

It is important to note that genetics and geography are not the only two elements of human diversity in the context of HCA. However, the Task Force will focus on these two aspects of diversity since they have well established biomedical significance and are potentially amenable to standardization across the HCA, but at the same time raise substantial issues of ethics, equity and prioritization that must be addressed.

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Shyam Prabhakar, Kian Hong Kock and Sophia George.  The Chairs will be responsible for reporting the group’s recommendations to the EqWG and (after EqWG approval) other HCA groups including the OC, the Genetic Diversity Biological Network, and the new Data Ecosystem Oversight Group.

Further details are available here.

Regional Networks

In 2017 HCA began expanding its outreach and capacity-building efforts and has established three regional networks to date: HCA Asia, HCA Africa, and HCA Latin America. The goals of the regional networks are to help facilitate scientific and organizational efforts at the regional level. 

Past Regional Meetings include:

November 03-04, 2022 HCA 2022 Asia Meeting, Bangkok
October 06-07, 2022 HCA Latin America Symposium (virtual)
March 21-22, 2022 HCA Africa Symposium (virtual)
November 15-16, 2021 HCA Asia Meeting (virtual)
October 22-23, 2020 HCA Asia Meeting (virtual)
September 24-25, 2020 HCA Latin America Meeting (virtual)
November 10-11, 2019 HCA Asia Meeting, Singapore
November 11-13, 2018 HCA Asia Meeting, Republic of Korea
November 30 – December 1, 2017 HCA Asia Meeting, Japan

Training and outreach activities

Building on past training and outreach activities, HCA plans to host several workshops over the next three years with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Past training and outreach activities include:

October 23-27, 2023 2023 HCA Latin America Workshop, Santiago, Chile
March 07-10, 2023 HCA Africa 2023 Computational and Experimental Design Workshop, Ghana
November 14-16, 2022 HCA Africa: Introduction to Single Cell  RNA-Seq Analysis (re-run) (virtual)
October 17-20, 2022 HCA Africa: Introduction to Single Cell  RNA-Seq Analysis (virtual)
January 17-22, 2022 Single Cell Transcriptomics (India, virtual)
April 26 – May 7, 2021 Single Cell RNA-seq Data Analysis Workshop (Latin America, virtual)
October 30, 2019 HCA Equity Meeting, Addis Ababa
September 10, 2019 HCA Equity Roadshow, Brazil

Equity Working Group Members

Sami Al Garawi

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, Middle East

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Gordon Awandare

WACCBIP - University of Ghana, Ghana, Africa

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Alex Bernier

McGill University, Canada

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Alistair Forrest

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Australia

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Lucio Freitas-Junior

University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America

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Muzlifah Haniffa

Wellcome Sanger Institute/Newcastle University, UK

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Emily Kirby

McGill University, Canada

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Partha Majumder

John C. Martin Centre for Liver Research & Innovations and Liver Foundation, West Bengal, India

Musa M Mhlanga

Radboud University, The Netherlands

Shyam Prabhakar

Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore

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Senjuti Saha

Child Health Research Foundation, Bangladesh, Asia

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Alex Shalek

MIT | Ragon | Broad

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Christine Wells

University of Melbourne, Australia

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Diversity Task Force Members

Samira Asgari

Icahn School of Medicine, USA

Robert Cook Deegan

Arizona State University, USA

Gideon Cornel Msee

University of Edinburgh

Sophia George

University of Miami, USA

Kian Kock

Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore

Vinicius Maracaja Coutinho

University of Chile, Chile

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Drew Neavin

Garvan Institute, Australia

Alycia Noë

McGill University, Canada

Yukinori Okada

Osaka University and University of Tokyo, Japan

Matangkasombut Choopong Ponpan

Madihol University, Thailand

Shyam Prabhakar

Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore

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Patricia Severino

Albert Einstein Research and Education Institute, Brazil

Outreach Talks