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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
J.D. The Ohio State University College of Law

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

Selected Publications

Genomics and Health Disparities Lecture Series

The mission of the Health Disparities Unit within the Social and Behavioral Research Branch is to investigate approaches to translating new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings without exacerbating health inequities. The Health Disparities Unit conducts research at the intersection of public policy, health care inequities, and genomics. The Unit investigates the use of race, ethnicity and ancestry constructs in genomics research and clinical care. The Unit also conducts biopsychosocial research of  sickle cell disease, a disease impacted by significant health disparities globally.


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 Ohio State University.  Mr. Bonham was a fellow in the American Association of Medical Colleges Health Services Research Fellowship Program. Mr. Bonham was a tenured faculty member at Michigan State University with appointments in the Colleges of Medicine and Law. He is currently 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 Unit, which investigates the equitable integration of new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings. 

His research focuses primarily on the social implications 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 exacerbating or ameliorating health inequities. The Bonham group also studies sickle cell disease, a condition that will be impacted by emerging curative genomic technologies, but has faced significant health disparities 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 his research, as it allows contemporary genomic science and policy issues to inform his research program.   

Scientific Summary

Last Updated: March 11, 2019