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From the NIH Director: 2017 Pride Month

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is pleased to once again recognize June as Pride Month.  We remain deeply committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity in our research and workplace.  Through the important work of our Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), we continue toward our goal of fostering an environment where diverse talent is leveraged to advance health discovery.

EDI’s activities are instrumental in promoting awareness and education about the needs and concerns of people coming from populations currently underrepresented in the NIH workforce, including those identifying as Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM).  It is EDI’s role to help us better understand how to effectively recruit, retain, and support employees from these communities.  Last year, NIH had the honor of sharing and learning from the experiences of members of our own SGM community and SGM allies through video testimonials and written accounts in the Telling Our Stories initiative.In order to make meaningful progress in improving the lives of our SGM employees, we need better data related to lived experiences and needs. This year’s theme for Pride Month — “Making Our Stories Count”—will be a conversation about how we at NIH can ensure the voices of our SGM community members are heard.  The conversation is also valuable to those outside NIH who are formulating such tools in other federal agencies and in non-governmental sectors such as academia.  Accurately collecting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data is a critical component of assessing the current challenges that SGM individuals experience in the workplace and allows NIH to develop more effective policies and programs to address these challenges.

Join me in celebrating the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion at our June 28 panel conversation to better understand our federal workforce from both the administration and the research perspectives.  Our guests will include:

  • Elliot Kennedy, Senior Advisor for LGBT Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS;
  • JoAnne Keatley, Former Director, Center of Excellence in Transgender Health;
  • Mahri Monson, Lead, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Workforce Data Pilot, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
  • AJ Pearlman, Former Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor in the Office for Civil Rights, HHS;
  • Caroline Vagneron, Senior Country Officer, Caribbean Country Management Unit, and Vice-President, GLOBE, The World Bank; and
  • A representative from the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

For more information about Pride Month or other EDI 365 events happening at NIH, please visit the EDI Pride 2017 page and follow EDI on Twitter and Instagram at NIH_EDI.  I also encourage you to participate in an opportunity to learn more about SGM communities by attending one of our Safe Zone sessions.

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

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