Mission

The Genetic Literacy Project

Agricultural and human biotechnology are reshaping farming, food and medicine. The GLP explores the intersection of DNA research, media and policy to disentangle science from ideology.

Biotechnology can improve food security, the environment and public health. Yet dramatic innovation can lead to unintended consequences and present ethical challenges. In theory, the study of genetics and related cutting edge sciences are widely celebrated. But in practice, the words “gene” and “genetic engineering” often stir fear and misunderstanding when applied to both biomedicine and farming. Intricate science scares people who don’t understand risk and complexity. What is the potential of agricultural and human genetics? The goal of the GLP is to promote public awareness of genetics and science literacy.

The Genetic Literacy Project is a non-profit organization funded by grants from non-partisan foundations. We also accept donations from individuals. We have no ties to and accept zero dollars from any industry or corporation. The GLP is affiliated with the non-profit Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) based at George Mason University in Virginia, which supplies administrative support for the GLP, and with the Center for Health & Risk Communication at GMU.

 


Statistical Assessment Service

The GLP is affiliated with STATS, which is a non-profit, non-partisan resource on the use and abuse of science and statistics in the media. Its goals are to correct scientific misinformation on public policy issues resulting from bad science, politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge; and to act as a resource for journalists and policy makers on scientific issues and controversies. Two of its executives play a crucial role in overseeing the work of the GLP: S. Robert Lichter, President of STATS, Professor of Communication at George Mason University and President of the Center for Media and Public Affairs holds a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University and has also served on the faculties of Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Georgetown and George Washington Universities; and Donald Rieck, Executive Director, who received his  MA in Political Science and MBA from Temple University.


Center for Health & Risk Communication, GMU

The GLP and STATS are affiliated with the CHRC, which provides an organizational framework for stimulating innovative health and risk communication research collaborations, health promotion intervention projects and community interventions. The establishment of the CHRC parallels the development of innovative new health and risk communication graduate programs at both the Masters and Doctoral levels within the Department of Communication as well as the development of distinguished faculty scholars with expertise in health and risk communication. It connects the department with numerous constituencies outside the university, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI’s) Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch, the NCI Cancer Information Service, the CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing, the AHRQ’s John M. Eisenberg Clinical Decisions and Communications Science Center, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health e-Technologies Program, the Coalition for Health Communication and other important federal agencies and private foundations.