Sharon Terry

Genetic Alliance


“I Free the Data because it will ultimately save lives.”


Sharon F. Terry is President and CEO of Genetic Alliance, a network of more than 10,000 organizations, of which 1,200 are disease advocacy organizations. Genetic Alliance enables individuals, families, and communities to reclaim their health and become full participants in translational research and services.

She is the founding CEO of PXE International, a research advocacy organization for the genetic condition pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). As co-discoverer of the gene associated with PXE, she holds the patent for ABCC6 to act as its steward and has assigned her rights to the foundation. She developed a diagnostic test and conducts clinical trials. She is the author of 120 peer-reviewed papers, of which 30 are PXE clinical studies. Sharon is also a co-founder of the Genetic Alliance Registry and Biobank. In her focus at the forefront of consumer participation in genetics research, services, and policy, she serves in a leadership role on many of the major international and national organizations, including the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Science and Policy Board, the IOM Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health, the PubMed Central National Advisory Committee, the International Rare Disease Research Consortium Executive Committee, PhenX, Global Alliance, and as Founding President of EspeRare Foundation. She is on the editorial boards of several journals. She was instrumental in the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. She received an honorary doctorate from Iona College for her work in community engagement in 2005; the first Patient Service Award from the UNC Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy in 2007; the Research!America Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award in 2009; and the Clinical Research Forum and Foundation’s Annual Award for Leadership in Public Advocacy in 2011. In 2012, she became an honorary professor of Hebei United University in Tangshan, China, and received the Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) Spirit of Empowerment Advocacy Award. She was named one of FDA’s “30 Heroes for the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Orphan Drug Act” in 2013. She is an Ashoka Fellow.

She has received three first place prizes in competitions for the Platform for Engaging Everyone Responsibly (PEER) totaling more than $350,000. PEER was named one of "Six Business Models that are Transforming Health Systems around the World" in 2013.