- Minutes from the 2015 Annual Business Meeting of the American Association of Anthropological Genetics (AAAG)
The AAAG business meeting was called to order by president M. Geoffrey Hayes at 8 pm on Friday, March 27, 2015, at the Hilton Hotel, Ballpark Room, St. Louis, MO; 48 members and 6 nonmembers registered their attendance. Secretary/treasurer Ellen Quillen presented the minutes from the 2014 business meeting which were approved by voice vote.
President M. Geoffrey Hayes presented a brief overview of the work of AAAG over the past year and how we have met our goals of increasing participation and serving our members. Two years ago Graciela Cabana (Past President) formulated a three-year plan centered on the following three goals: (1) provide education and networking opportunities to our members, (2) promote the value of anthropology and anthropological knowledge in human genetics/population genetics research, and (3) develop messages about the sociopolitical implications of genomics and what anthropological genetics contributes to our understanding of important issues/topics such as race. By accomplishing these goals we hoped to expand our membership and have succeeded as evidenced by the increased attendance at the 2014 and 2015 business meeting, including many students; increased number of individuals running for AAAG elected office this year; increased number of students applying for student awards; and excellent participation in networking events. During the past two years AAAG also worked to improve the relationship between the association and the editorial team at Human Biology by appointing Omer Gokcumen as AAAG liaison to the journal. Thanks to his service and the work of new editors Ripan Malhi and Brian Kemp, both the association and journal are benefiting from a close relationship, and the need for a formal liaison has ceased.
During the past year the AAAG Executive Committee has focused on (1) providing networking opportunities for our members at AAPA and ASHG meetings, as well as online; (2) expanding high-quality education and outreach events; (3) improving the resources available on our web page, with more resources of interest to AAAG members and other anthropological geneticists; and (4) creating an ethics committee. Reports from committee chairs on the first three topics are forthcoming (see below) at the business meeting. Regarding the Ethics Committee, it will be chaired by Deborah Bolnick, former AAAG Past President, and charged with drafting AAAG ethics statements on the following topics: (1) race; (2) working with indigenous communities while conducting research, including the return of results to communities; and (3) ensuring safety of AAAG members from sexual harassment while conducting research as part of field schools and more broadly, following the lead of other organizations like SAA, which recently released the statement “Actions on Sexual Harassment and Assault at Archaeological Fieldschools” in response to the 2014 Clancey et al. PLoS One article “Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault.” Additionally, the Ethics Committee will serve as an advisory board where AAAG members may seek advice on these and other topics, such as dealing with differences in local IRB regulations. A call for [End Page 85] individuals interested in serving on the committee was placed to ensure a diverse committee, including representation at the student level.
Dr. Hayes congratulated our 2014 student prizewinners for outstanding presentations in anthropological genetics at the AAPA meeting last year: Genevieve Housman (Arizona State University) and Timothy Webster (Yale). At the 2014 business meeting, an expansion of these trainee presentation awards was approved to include an additional two awards for postdoctoral trainees. In 2015, four awards will be presented at the awards reception to be held Saturday, March 28. The fourteen applicants for the awards in 2015 comprise the largest applicant pool in more than three years. As in previous years, each awardee will receive a $200 cash prize and a complementary one-year subscription to our official journal, Human Biology. Many thanks to all of the students and postdocs who submitted their excellent work for consideration.
Finally, Dr. Hayes formally congratulated two former presidents of AAAG who were honored by the AAPA during the annual meeting. Michael Crawford, founding member of AAAG, had a symposium held in his honor to celebrate his research...