Vivian Ota Wang | Mini Moments With Big Thinkers

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Mini Moments With Big Thinkers

Mini Moments With Big Thinkers

Vivian Ota Wang

The Supreme Court's has said no to gene patents, but what about genetically-based marketing claims? Federal gene expert and TC alumna Vivian Ota Wang explains why she opposed approval of a drug that purported to treat congestive heart failure in African Americans -- a group for which there is no genetic definition.

As Program Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health), Vivian Ota Wang (M. Phil. '94, Ph.D. ,'95) oversees the use of databases created by researchers working with federal grants which have genetic and phenotype information that can potentially identify individuals. A former genetic counselor, she also has served as NIH representative to the President's National Science and Technology Council during the Bush II and Obama administrations. She previously held tenure-track faculty positions at Rutgers, Arizona State and Vanderbilt universities. While at Teachers College, where she studied in the Counseling Psychology Program of the Counseling and Clinical Psychology department with faculty members Robert Carter and Patricia Raskin, she received funding from the National Society of Genetic Counselors to develop a multicultural genetics counseling program. She became one of the first practitioners to bring genetics into the broader field of counseling psychology. Her essay "The House of God: The Fallacy of Neutral Universalism in Medicine," appears in The Handbook on Racial-Cultural Psychology and Counseling, edited by Robert Carter.


Ota Wang's accomplishment's have been recognized by the NSGC Special Projects Fund Award, Asian American Psychological Association's Distinguished Contributions Award, the American Psychological Association's Board of Scientific Affairs Meritorious Research Service Commendation, the DHHS Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service, the NIH Director's Awards, the NHGRI Merit Awards, the Colorado College Louis T. Benezet Award and the Teachers College/Columbia University Distinguished Alumnus Award.

To learn more about Vivian Ota Wang , read:

Premiered on 6/17/2013


In "Mini Moments with Big Thinkers," leading figures in Teachers College's history discuss groundbreaking ideas, research and initiatives born at the College during the past half-century. The Mini Moments are drawn from the College’s Oral History Project, a collection of more than 90 videotaped interviews conducted by Melanie Shorin and Jessica Wiederhorn, the principals of The Narrative Trust, a private firm that conducts and captures the oral histories of institutions, communities and individuals. Produced in conjunction with TC’s Department of Development and External Affairs, the Mini-Moments are airing throughout 2013.

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Nahas Angula

Ed.M., 1979; M.A., 1978

Leonard Blackman

Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education

George Bonanno

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Warner Burke

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George Bond

Professor of Anthropology and Education

Margaret Crocco

former TC Professor of Social Studies and Education

Morton Deutsch

E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education

Christopher Emdin

Assistant Professor of Science Education

Alumnus William Epps

Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Los Angeles

Celia Genishi

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Antoinette Gentile

Professor Emeritus, Movement Sciences

A. Lin Goodwin

Vice Dean and Professor of Education

Edmund Gordon

Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education

Maxine Greene

William F. Russell Professor Emeritus in Foundations of Education

R. Douglas Greer

Professor of Psychology and Education

Jeffrey Henig

Professor of Political Science & Education, Department Chair, EPSA

Sharon Lynn Kagan

Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy

John B. King, Jr.

Ed.D. '08, New York State Commissioner of Education

Henry Levin

Professor of Economics & Education

Eric Nadelstern

Professor of Practice in Educational Leadership

Sandra Okita

Assistant Professor of Technology and Education

Michael Rebell

Professor of Law and Education

William Dodge Rueckert

Co-Chair, Teachers College Board of Trustees

Donna Shalala

President of the University of Miami, former TC faculty member

Gita Steiner-Khamsi

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Derald Wing Sue

Professor of Psychology and Education

Ruth Vinz

Program Coordinator, English Education

Cally L. Waite

Associate Professor of History and Education

Barbara Wallace

Professor of Health Education

Vivian Ota Wang

M. Phil. '94, Ph.D. '95

Howell Wechsler

Ed.D. '95 and 2012-2013 Tisch Lecturer

Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Sex Therapist, Author and Media Personality