Karyn Onyeneho, M.S., holds a Master of Science degree in health informatics from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude, in health sciences and management, from Howard University, where she is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Nutritional Sciences, with a concentration in Nutrigenomics. Her dissertation will focus on examining gene-expressions in the pathophysiology of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in African-Americans and Africans, who are disproportionately affected by the disease compared to other minority ethnic groups. She aspires to develop sustainable, patient-centered, comprehensive nutrition interventions to combat T2DM and empower at-risk diabetics to adopt healthy dietary patterns while promoting health literacy. Karyn has been a public service professional in the US federal workforce for almost a decade and was appointed to her current position, Genomics Scientific Administrator at the National Institutes of Health, Precision Medicine Initiative, All of Us Research Program in 2019—a national research program established under President Obama’s administration to revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease. In this role, she supports partnerships between All of Us and research participants, including communication of research findings with participants and participant communities. Her work is critical to the core value of the program in supporting efforts to ensure research participants have access to their genomic results and the program’s Genetic Counseling Resource for responsible return of results. Prior to joining the Genomics Team, Karyn spent her first year at All of Us supporting establishment of the Resource Access Board (RAB) and developing policy guidelines for the RAB to promote researcher engagement while contributing to development of the genomics platform.
In June 2019, Karyn co-authored a paper, Barriers to Participation in Genomic Health Research by African-American and Other Minority Populations: A Systematic Literature Review, published with the American Society of Nutrition, to understand genomic health research participation barriers among groups known to be historically underrepresented in biomedical research and to promote effective strategies to address research recruitment challenges. In June 2018, Karyn visited the University of Botswana to present a research paper, “Globalization and Nutrition in Botswana to Combat Malnutrition and Diabetes Mellitus,” in support of her Ph.D. studies. Karyn’s aspirations are to develop sustainable, patient-centered, comprehensive nutrition interventions to combat T2DM and promote health literacy.
Karyn has presented her research at national and international conferences including: George Mason University Capstone Presentations (2014), Functional Requirements of a Web-based Solution to Engage Diabetic Patients; CIMPAD US conference (2016), Africa’s Secret Weapon—The Diaspora: The Implementation and Utilization of eHealth Technologies to Improve Health Outcomes; CIMPAD Botswana conference (2018), Globalization and Nutrition in Botswana to Combat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; and the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) 33rd Educational Conference (2018) where she served as a panelist discussing matters and the importance of inclusion, diversity, and equity in the health services workforce during a panel segment, Racism and Health: Defining a New Paradigm. Karyn’s research has been published in peer-reviewed chapters with the American Society of Nutrition, the Journal of Mason Graduate Research of George Mason University, and CIMPAD international conference proceedings.
Karyn is avid in global and community affairs and was also recognized by the Maryland General Assembly in 2017 for her role in community service where she received academic scholarships from both Senator William C. Smith Jr. and Delegate Jheanelle K. Wilkins to support her doctorate studies at Howard University. She also enjoys giving back to her Alma Mater through volunteering as an Alumni Career Mentor at Howard University during the 2016-2017 Junior Experiential Learning (JEL) Program. In this role, she spent a year mentoring young men and women junior undergraduates in College of Nursing and Allied Health pursuing degrees to become future physical therapists, registered nurses, and physician assistants. Karyn empowered her students in the JEL Program to reach success through scholarship, which she notes is attributed to her parents who instilled education in her at the earliest stages of her life as being the greatest pathway to success. She continues to be active in Howard University alumni relation events and university activities. Her efforts in the JEL Program were recognized in 2017 when she was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions and Continued Support.
Karyn holds a professional memberships with the American Society of Nutrition (2019-present); National Association of Health Services Executives (2018-present), American Medical Informatics Association (2014-2015); American Health Information Management Association (2014-2015); and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (2014-2015).