The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics announces that Melanie J. Wells, MPH, CAE, the College’s current Chief Operations Officer, has been selected by the ACMG Board of Directors to become its new Chief Executive Officer, following a thorough national search. Ms. Wells is the first African American and first woman to lead the organization, which was founded in 1991 and represents medical genetics professionals, including clinical geneticists, laboratory geneticists, genetic counselors and other healthcare professionals. Ms. Wells will succeed ACMG’s Interim CEO, Robert G. Best, PhD, FACMG.
Susan Klugman, MD, FACMG, FACOG said, “It is an exciting time for the College as the practices of clinical and laboratory genetics are both at critical junctures. Collaboration with nongenetics professionals will become increasingly important in the years to come. Ms. Wells is well positioned to lead our talented and hardworking staff to achieve our goals in the areas of education, research and advocacy as genetics will have a much broader presence in all healthcare. I have worked with Ms. Wells since my initial years on the ACMG board and have always appreciated her organizational and interpersonal skills. She has also been the staff liaison to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and has been involved in many of its initiatives. Her years of experience as an association professional, and her knowledge of the inner workings of the College combined with her commitment make her an outstanding choice for this role.”
Ms. Wells takes the helm at a pivotal time in the field of medical genetics. “Associations are operating during unprecedented times, as we integrate lessons learned during the pandemic and develop new business strategies to meet member and partner needs,” said Ms. Wells. “As our lives have evolved, similarly ACMG and ACMGF must continue to demonstrate the value of the work we do in innovative ways. I am honored to continue my service to the College and look forward to collaborating with our board of directors, volunteers, and our dedicated staff to position the College and Foundation for transformational change that expands our reach, establishes pathways for equitable access to genetics and genomics services and resources, while solidifying our future service to the greater medical community.”
Ms. Wells received a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management with a concentration in Healthcare Organizations and Management from the University of South Florida, College of Public Health. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a designated Certified Association Executive by the American Society of Association Executives.
Ms. Wells joined the ACMG and the ACMG Foundation in 2016 as Director of Administration and has been the Chief Operations Officer since 2020. In this role, she worked closely with the Chief Executive Officer to fulfill the College’s mission by overseeing budgets, staff, human resources, information technology and operations. Ms. Wells also worked closely with the Board of Directors for both ACMG and the ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine on strategic planning and implementing board initiatives.
Previously she was Chief Operating Officer for the Society for Public Health Education, and Executive Director of Capital City Area Health Education Center in Washington, DC.
“Since its inception the ACMG has had a scientist and Fellow as its leader,” said chair of the CEO Search Committee and immediate past president of the ACMG, Marc S. Williams, MD, FACMG. “At the initiation of this search, the Board endorsed expanding the criteria to include association professionals, reflecting that the College has grown so much in its 30+ years of existence, that leadership by a professional trained in the management of complex organizations could offer opportunities for transformation. Based on her training and experience with the College and other associations, Ms. Wells impressed the search committee with several innovative ideas involving membership, educational offerings, and financial management that separated her from the other candidates. The Board is looking forward to working with Ms. Wells to realize these ideas to strengthen the College now and in the future.”
About the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine
Founded in 1991, the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) is a prominent authority in the field of medical genetics and genomics and the only nationally recognized medical professional organization solely dedicated to improving health through the practice of medical genetics and genomics. The only medical specialty society in the US that represents the full spectrum of medical genetics disciplines in a single organization, the ACMG provides education, resources and a voice for more than 2,600 clinical and laboratory geneticists, genetic counselors and other healthcare professionals. ACMG’s mission is to improve health through the clinical and laboratory practice of medical genetics as well as through advocacy, education and clinical research, and to guide the safe and effective integration of genetics and genomics into all of medicine and healthcare, resulting in improved personal and public health. Genetics in Medicine and the new Genetics in Medicine Open, a gold open access journal, are the official ACMG journals. ACMG’s website, www.acmg.net, offers resources including policy statements, practice guidelines, and educational programs. The ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine works to advance ACMG educational and public health programs through charitable gifts from corporations, foundations and individuals.