Caption: T. Jake Liang, M.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator, Chief of Liver Diseases Branch, Deputy Director of Translational Research, NIDDK is the new AAPI Executive Sponsor and Champion for the AAPI Engagement Committee.
Caroline Goon, MS, MBA, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s (EDI) Asian Americans Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Portfolio Strategist and AAPI Engagement Committee Chair, reached out to the new Executive Sponsor for the AAPI Engagement Committee, Jake Liang, M.D. Dr. Liang shares his work, background and goals for the committee.
I am thrilled to take on the role of Executive Sponsor and champion for the AAPI Engagement Committee. This year, our Committee has already begun to discuss the strategy to address some important issues facing our community, such as underrepresentation at leadership levels, implicit biases, and overt injustices against AAPI. Appreciating the wide diversity of AAPI, I seek the support and help of all who are part of this community that includes so many rich and proud heritages and cultures. We look forward to working with other groups and organizations, both inside and outside of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to collaboratively support the recruitment, retention, and advancement of AAPIs and underrepresented populations.
In my years at the NIH, I have seen so much progress that the Agency and EDI have made to foster an inclusive culture where diverse talent is leveraged to advance the mission of our organization. Yet, there is more work to be done. In our very recent history, we have seen our community unfairly targeted as the scapegoat for COVID-19. Unfortunately, we witnessed social injustices against the Asian American communities rise – because of the “color of our skin,” and like many, realized that saying nothing is no longer an option. Our experiences dealing with racism are not individual but are manifestations of a broken system. Taking a stand for all those who have faced crises in various forms is one way I feel motivated to reach out – to others in my own sphere of influence, and beyond – and thoughtfully advocate for justice.
Earlier in my career, I learned from my mentors, followed the path and guidance of those I respected, and saw the need to bridge the gap. In moments of reflection, looking at the present and my future goals, I strive to be a bridge to support the next generation of leaders to not only be impactful in their careers but to also always be an advocate for their concerns. I am forever thankful to those who have mentored and sponsored me, and it is with gratefulness that I serve in this role as the Executive Sponsor to be a role model and offer what I can to address these issues within our community. I look forward to taking that deep dive together with our Committee to uncover other challenges facing AAPIs.
Finally, it is also just as important to celebrate the accomplishments of our peers and colleagues, for Asian Americans have been a perennial force that drives the research and discovery at the NIH at the grassroots level. Stay tuned as we work together with our colleagues and the NIH senior leadership to address not only the challenges facing AAPI, but to also celebrate the accomplishments of our talented scientists, researchers, clinicians, administrators, and support staff.
T. Jake Liang, M.D.
NIH Distinguished Investigator
Chief of Liver Diseases Branch, Deputy Director of Translational Research
Questions? Contact EDI’s AAPI Portfolio Strategist and AAPI Engagement Committee Chair, Caroline Goon, MS, MBA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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