Summary of 4th Plenary Meeting


On October 16-18, 2016, stakeholders in genomics and health-related data sharing convened in Vancouver, BC, Canada, for the 4th Plenary Meeting of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). The Plenary focused on facilitating rapid uptake of GA4GH tools and solutions in real-world settings and translating the last two years of work into action. The Plenary also highlighted progress made on key GA4GH projects, provided updates on the organization, and invited input from the community on its future goals and next steps.

In the final count, the meeting attracted 355 people from 204 organizations and 26 countries — making it the most popular GA4GH meeting to date. About half of the attendees were new to GA4GH.

The three-day conference opened with working meetings of the four working groups — Data, Clinical, Security, and Regulatory and Ethics — including a joint meeting of the Clinical and Data Working Groups. Day two focused on four data-sharing demonstration projects — Matchmaker Exchange, BRCA Challenge, Beacon, and the new Cancer Gene Trust. The schedule was interspersed with breakout sessions on special topics, demonstrations, and task teams. The full group came together on day three, October 18, for a day of keynotes, talks, and discussions, including updates and highlights from the first two days. The Plenary Day ended with a reflection on the brilliant creative work by thousands of volunteers and a renewed call for GA4GH to develop the data sharing tools necessary to deliver on the promise of genomics to advance human health.

Funding for this meeting was made possible in part by 3 U54 HG 007990 - 02 S1. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

How to Cite

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. Summary of the Fourth Plenary, 2016. Available at:


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