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

phone (301) 594-3973
fax (301) 480-3066
e-mail bonhamv@mail.nih.gov
Building 31, Room B1B55
31 CENTER DR, MSC 2070
BETHESDA, MD 20892-2070

Selected Publications

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Social and Behavioral Research in Genomics

YouTube videoNative Peoples and Genetic Research 03: Vence Bonham


The Health Disparities Unit, within the Social and Behavioral Research Branch, conducts research that evaluates approaches to integrating new genomic knowledge into clinical settings without exacerbating inequities in healthcare delivery. The unit studies the intersection of public policy, health inequities health care and genomics. This research focuses primarily on the social influences of new genomic knowledge, particularly in communities of color. Members of the unit study the use of the constructs of race and ethnicity in genomics research and clinical care and the role of genomics in the study of minority health and racial and ethnic health disparities.

Mr. Bonham and Miami University collaborator Sherrill L. Sellers, Ph.D., developed new assessment measures for researchers to study health professionals' knowledge of human genetic variation, beliefs on race and genetics, including the explicit use of race in clinical care (RACE scale).  The Health Disparities Unit is working with researchers to use the measures with various types of health professionals and within diverse types of health care settings.  

The Health Disparities Unit and Mr. Bonham's research includes the study of a health disparity condition and disease, sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease. Through the INSIGHTS study, conducted a the NIH Clinical Center , the unit and collaborators are exploring how psychosocial, skin microbiome and genomic factors influence sickle cell disease and the formation and healing of sickle cell disease related leg ulcers. The study brings together national and international experts from the disciplines of health services research, microbiology, genomics, hematology, psychology and sociology to explore sickle cell disease. All of these research projects actively involve trainees. Mr. Bonham has worked closely with his trainees to expand the range of research questions addressed within the unit.

Biography

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.  For a decade, Mr. Bonham was an associate professor 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 into clinical settings without exacerbating inequities in healthcare delivery. 

Mr. Bonham is a healthcare services and policy researcher whose work is at the intersection of public policy, healthcare and genomics. 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 that genomics has on minority health and health disparities.

Mr. Bonham also holds two other appointments at NHGRI. He serves as the senior advisor to the NHGRI director on genomics and health disparities and chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch. These two roles complement Mr. Bonham's research work as they enable him to ask conceptually based research questions grounded in the practical realities of clinical delivery systems, genomic literacy for the public and health professionals, and the role of race and genomics in society.  Most recently, Mr. Bonham was the co-curator for the NHGRI/Smithsonian exhibition "Genome: Unlocking Life's Code."

Scientific Summary

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Last Updated: January 5, 2015