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The Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in Genetic Research
The Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in Genetic Research (VAC) was established to serve as a resource for researchers doing collaborative genetic research, under a Tobacco Settlement Fund grant, to predict individuals most at risk for developing clinical disease as a consequence of tobacco use. With this important information, interventions can be developed to target high-risk youth smokers.

Research Proposal Summary
Informed Consent and Bioethics: Addressing the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of Genetics Research

Genetic research can go forward with public confidence only if ethical, legal, and social issues are addressed and an appropriate infrastructure put in place to anticipate, explore and resolve those issues. Resolving these issues is a prerequisite not only for the research goals of this proposal, but also for virtually all research involving human genetics and the human genome project. Our hope is that functional ethical guidelines and informed consent policies can be developed to guide genetics research projects.

Goals
Develop an infrastructure to address the ethical, legal, and social issues involved in collaborative genetic research projects in the State of Virginia
Convene the Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in Genetic Research. The Committee will do the following:
Identify the ethical, legal and social issues raised by the research, through discussions with researchers; through independent research on ethical, legal and policy issues; and through focus groups with the public;
  Convene meetings of the Advisory Committee for reflection and deliberation on the issues in the first two years;
  Facilitate the development of Working Papers and Policy Reports and Recommendations on specific ethical, legal and social issues;
  Provide an on-going resource to researchers and others throughout the project's duration for consultation and reflection on ethical, legal, and social issues as they arise, as well as on new policy developments at the state and national levels that have an impact on the research project.

The committee includes faculty from the following participating universities: George Mason University, James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary. The University of Virginia Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life provides the coordination and administrative support for the Virginia Advisory Committee on the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of Genetic Research. The committee includes members with backgrounds in ethics, law, social sciences and public policy as related to research and policy in genetics, as well as researchers in genetics. The committee also consults with a wide-variety of professionals throughout the State who have an interest in genetics.

For further information about the work of the Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Genetic Research (VAC), please see the following materials.

 VCU Survey of Virginians about Genetic Testing
(Commissioned by the Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Genetic Research)

 "Virginia Genetics Law and Policy" by James G. Hodge, Jr., J.D., LL.M.
(A white paper commissioned by the Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Genetic Research)

 "Biotech Times," Vol. 10: No. 2: Spring 2004, published by the Fralin Biotechnology Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
(Special edition on work related to the Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Genetic Research)

 "Nondiscrimination in Public Health Genomics under the Americans with Disabilities Act" by James G. Hodge, Jr., J.D., LL.M.
(A white paper commissioned by the Virginia Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Genetic Research)