Social and Behavioral Research Branch

Vence L. Bonham, Jr., J.D.

Vence L. Bonham
Senior Advisor to the NHGRI Director on Genomics and Health Disparities
Office of the Director

Associate Investigator
Social and Behavioral Research Branch

B.A. Michigan State University, 1978
J.D. The Ohio State University College of Law, 1982

phone (301) 594-3973
fax (301) 480-3066
Building 31, Room B1B37G
31 CENTER DR, MSC 2070
BETHESDA, MD 20892-2070

Selected Publications

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Social and Behavioral Research in Genomics

Genomics and Health Disparities Lecture Series

YouTube videoNative Peoples and Genetic Research 03: Vence Bonham

The mission of the Health Disparities Unit within the Social and Behavioral Research Branch is to evaluate approaches to translating new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings without exacerbating inequities in healthcare delivery.  The Health Disparities Unit conducts research at the intersection of public policy, health care inequities, and genomics.  Members of the unit study the use of the race and ethnicity constructs in genomics research and clinical care.  The Unit also conducts biopsychosocial research related to diseases with a significant health disparity impact.


Vence Bonham received his bachelor of arts from James Madison College at Michigan State University and his juris doctor degree from the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University.  Mr. Bonham was a fellow in the American Association of Medical Colleges Health Services Research Fellowship Program.  Mr. Bonham was a faculty member at Michigan State University in the Colleges of Medicine and Law. Since 2003, Mr. Bonham has served as an associate investigator in the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) within the Division of Intramural Research's Social and Behavioral Research Branch. He leads the Health Disparities Genomics Unit, which conducts research that evaluates approaches to integrating new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings without exacerbating inequities in healthcare delivery. 

His research focuses primarily on the social influences of new genomic knowledge, particularly in communities of color. He studies how genomics influences the use of the constructs of race and ethnicity in biomedical research and clinical care and the role of genomics in health inequities. The Bonham group has expanded to study sickle cell disease, a condition with a significant health disparity impact both in the United States and globally.

Mr. Bonham also serves as the senior advisor to the NHGRI director on genomics and health disparities.  This role complements Mr. Bonham's research work as it enables him to ask conceptually based research questions grounded in the science of health disparities and genomics.  From 2011 until 2015, Mr. Bonham was the project leader and co-curator for the NHGRI/Smithsonian exhibition "Genome: Unlocking Life's Code."

Scientific Summary

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Last Updated: February 6, 2015