On March 16, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), lead author of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), passed away at the age of 88.
Rep. Slaughter was a strong advocate for genomics research, and her work on GINA helped to create protections against genetic discrimination with health insurance and employment. These protections allow patients and research participants to undergo genetic and genomic testing without fear that their results will be used to affect their job or access to health insurance.
"We have truly lost a genomics champion. Louise Slaughter had the vision that GINA was needed to ensure continued advances in genetics and genomics research, especially for clinical applications - and she was completely right. Our research community will remember her commitment to these important social and ethical issues," said Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., NHGRI Director.
As one of the longest-serving leaders of the House of Representatives, Rep. Slaughter was a dedicated public servant. She broke barriers by becoming the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee and was also the only microbiologist in Congress. She received a bachelor's degree in microbiology and a master's degree in public health from the University of Kentucky.
Rep Slaughter's combination of scientific curiosity, commitment to social justice, and leadership in Congress will be deeply missed.
Posted: March 16, 2018