Continuing the March toward Diversity and Inclusion

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Diverse teams of researchers have a huge advantage: their varied backgrounds provide more perspectives in problem-solving and, when working together in the lab, that often enhances the chances of finding insights and solutions to complex problems. For Cheryl Cropp, Ph.D., (NHGRI), a history of prostate cancer in her own family provides her with a unique, personal perspective on the importance of her research. She and her mentor, Joan Bailey-Wilson, Ph.D., use epidemiological approaches to understand how someone’s genetic background may lead to a particular disease.

The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) has noted that achieving this coveted diversity in biomedical research has been challenging. Even though underrepresented groups in the US (African American, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaskan native; and Pacific Islanders) have experienced high population growth, that growth is not seen in the numbers of underrepresented groups choosing careers in the biosciences.

Through OITE’s Workplace Dynamics Management series, people with different backgrounds are given an opportunity to discuss the challenges and biases they face. The goal is to address these biases head on and build a workplace that is welcoming to all. Participants are urged to make personal commitments to inclusion and to continue to facilitate diversity at NIH. Workplace Dynamics I, II and V: Gaining Self-Awareness, Communication Skills, and Understanding Diversity will be offered on March 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will help you improve your leadership and management skills. The course is recommended for postbacs, graduate students, postdocs/fellows, staff scientists, and staff clinicians.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader, said, “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism,” during his famous I Have a Dream speech. He encouraged America to take an earnest approach to equality. We have an opportunity to develop a place for researchers of all backgrounds to come and share their ideas. Please plan to participate in the course and continue to foster diversity of all kinds at the IRP.