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# Mission Statement

[TOC]

## Document Objective

* Provide information for anyone interested in understanding the goals and vision of the CGDS.
* Define the core purpose and function of CGDS
* Distinguish CGDS from other groups
* Establish a starting point for defining strategies, goals, and structure for CGDS operations

## Background

The Center for Computational Genomics and Data Science (CGDS) seeks to develop and apply tools and methods to uncover
new and novel information that provide benefits for patients suffering from rare, undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed diseases,
their families, and the people that care for them. CGDS focuses on interpreting molecular variation with regards to its
correlation with patient phenotypes. We seek to identify and interpret causal molecular variation as well as variations
that alter patients’ clinical severity and progression through modification of phenotype or through alteration of response
to therapeutics (pharmacogenomics). Although we aim to generate knowledge that can be utilized for the study of human
disease in general, we strive to produce and apply knowledge for individuals (patients, their families, and the
clinicians who take care of them) in need of information to assist with clinical decision making in the present.

CGDS diligently works to create and maintain a productive and friendly team environment where we continuously educate one
another, contribute to scientific education, and disseminate new information locally and globally.

## Core Values

### Diversity

CGDS uses a variety of software development, omics, data science, and informatics methods to support increased
understanding of the impact of molecular variation on human health and disease. The CGDS team embodies a variety of
backgrounds, each sharing our differing experiences, interests, skills, and our personal and professional interests to
achieve our individual and team goals. Although our backgrounds may differ, we are part of a single team; our diversity
is our strength.

### Teamwork

The CGDS team combines our individual strengths with a shared sense of unity and enthusiasm toward fulfilling our goals.
A central tenet of the CGDS ethos is that our individual diversity and experiences are key strengths contributing to our
team’s success.

In order for us to foster an environment that cultivates creativity and innovation, colleagues must feel safe to admit
deficiencies, to seek out support from the team, and to have the opportunity to safely make mistakes when pursuing risky
new ideas. We must act thoughtfully towards each other; when teams have trust among their members, it improves morale,
decreases workplace anxiety, and ultimately improves the products and services that we deliver.

Teamwork isn’t only about sharing good times but also working through difficult times and providing support without team
members; each member of the team is expected to be ambitious and invested in their own future success, but also sincerely
invested in the success of others.

Although each project in our portfolio has a designated project lead, with rare exception, projects are developed and
implemented through team effort. Each project relies on every team member to contribute individually, to develop new
skills to support project goals, to work together in a cooperative manner, and to share the burdens and successes as a team.

### Respect

We strive to create an open, nurturing, and friendly team environment, where members are encouraged to share mistakes,
question results, and repeatedly ask “dumb questions” until they gain understanding; the only problematic “dumb question”
is the one unasked that leads to a lack of understanding or direction.

All members of the team, whether they are senior developers or high school students, deserve the same amount of individual
respect, courtesy, and consideration; each member of our team provides important contributions.

Our team collaborates with researchers, physicians, vendors, service providers, administrators, and others. All of the
people we interact with deserve our respect and consideration and, although we may be on informal terms, we expect all
members of the team to maintain the highest standards of professionalism. If you’re unclear about any interactions,
please bring your concerns to the team or Liz.

### Excellence

Excellence requires attention to detail and a quality-first mindset. It also requires a commitment to follow-up on tasks
and a dedication to the timing and quality of task completion. Members of our team are bright, but excellence also requires
diligence, thoroughness, passion, curiosity, and clarity in thinking. Excellence requires that we accept only our personal
best, as well as our shared understanding that within this team, we are all responsible for bringing projects to the point
of excellence. Even if you are not explicitly assigned to a project, if you think you see a way to make one
better – speak up!

We acknowledge that our passion means going the extra mile on every project. As a team and as individuals, we will
recognize and reward excellence by showing gratitude to team members on their level of commitment to the CGDS and to
our projects.

### Integrity

Integrity, and its key component honesty, are critical to the CGDS reputation for excellence. Without a commitment to
integrity, we risk harming our individual professional reputations and those of our teammates. Most importantly, we
risk the health and safety of the patients that we seek to help.

Members of the team are required to carry out their work honestly, carefully, and diligently in a timely manner.

### Tenacity

No case or area of science is too difficult to pursue. This team does not only take cases that we know we can solve; we
seek to assist with hard cases that we may not find answers for; there is no fear of a high failure rate. Our team
understands science may not be advanced enough to find an answer now. Instead we pursue being able to glean information
from the data that can move ahead understanding, even if only incrementally. Sharing of these new insights (however small)
can act as stepping stones and may ultimately be built upon by the scientific and clinical community. We believe that this
open science approach will ultimately help many patients.

There is an understanding that every project we take on contributes towards improving patient outcomes and patient’s
quality of life even when negative results are achieved. This approach demands perseverance to stay on track, pursuing
wherever the data may lead.

### Commitment

Core hours of work for CGDS members are from 9:30 to 3:30 daily; do your best to be in your office then. Some team members,
by agreement at the time of hiring or subsequently, work part time. Some team members, by agreement at the time of hiring
or subsequently, work at times away from the Huntsville or Birmingham office. This flexibility is absolutely supported and
does not reflect a lack of commitment, but rather an acknowledgment of external factors that make this the right path
for that individual.

Life happens and sometimes team members need to take time during core work hours (9.30-3.30) to deal with “stuff”; this
flexibility is absolutely supported. In return for this flexibility, team members should be flexible in return, by
working in the evenings or on weekends in exchange for taking time off during the week. Absences that can be planned
outside of core hours (like doctor/dentist checkups) should be planned for early or late in the day. Minimizing absences
within core hours whenever possible will help to dispel misunderstandings and reduce project impact.

To be clear, a few steps should be taken to minimize any impact of core work hour time off. The most important is
communication. If you would like to plan for time off during work hours or for personal time off (PTO), ask Liz in advance.
If approved, notify the team and put it on the CGDS calendar. Give the team a verbal reminder during standup meeting the
day of or the day before your absence. If you have an emergency or sickness, notify Liz and communicate with the team using
Slack as soon as you can. Your commitment to communicating these events will reduce the possibility of tension and/or conflicts.

## CGDS Ethos Assertions

> * We love doing science and we cherish the team members we do science with
> * We strive to be excellent scientists in all of our endeavors and serve as our own toughest critics
> * We are one team with many specialties, fearless in the pursuit of science, and open and transparent in our goals
> * We embrace collaboration and are willing to step up to opportunities
> * We seek productive and constructive criticism from colleagues
> * We are accountable for our errors; the buck stops with us; individually and as a team
> * We strive to cause no unnecessary harm and to be generous with our time and resources
> * We do not just take cases that we know we can solve; no patient should be left behind
> * We are curious; we have grit and are willing to work hard to solve hard problems
> * We are a little intense and a bit quirky and we like it that way; it’s one of our strengths
> * We operate as a team; the diversity of our team should mirror the diversity of the people our team serves
> * We care a lot about maintaining an inclusive culture on the team
> * We innovate unconventionally and strive to not take ourselves too seriously
> * We embrace the concept of ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’; accomplishments of any team member contribute to the
overall good reputation of our team and helps us all

## What Success Looks Like in CGDS

We know we are achieving our mission when:

> * Our team members continue to generate new knowledge and advances in science, medicine, education, or service through
publications, seminars, and other dissemination of our findings
> * Other leaders in our field cite our work and use our products
> * Our team members are sought out as collaborators, mentors, or consultants for new projects
> * Our team members are successful and rise to positions of influence in their chosen careers