On March 20, 2023, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan in response to Executive Order 14035 on DEIA in the federal workforce. NIH’s DEIA strategic plan highlights our commitment to embracing, strengthening, and integrating DEIA across all NIH activities to achieve our agency’s mission. The DEIA Strategic Plan prioritizes NIH’s role as a people-centered organization by uplifting its community and articulating NIH’s vision for enhancing DEIA in its operations, workforce, and research. Each of us, as members of the NIH community, has a role in the success of the plan.
The DEIA Strategic Plan provides NIH with a sustainable business model to recruit and retain the best and brightest minds. As the Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), I am committed to these efforts and will assist the NIH in the implementation of the DEIA Strategic Plan. I recognize that to create a true DEIA-centered culture at NIH, we must engage closely with the community. Within EDI, I have a team of Special Emphasis Portfolios Strategists dedicated to collaborating with NIH staff and ensuring that each community’s needs are being properly addressed within the DEIA Strategic Plan.
EDI is working to cultivate a growth mindset through which diverse perspectives are seen as an asset by creating an inclusive environment for every member of our NIH workforce. To build inclusivity, EDI bears responsibility for the identification and elimination of any barriers to equality of opportunity at the NIH, while providing equitable access to resources and support to historically underserved communities.
In addition, I want to provide our NIH community with a glimpse of EDI’s multi-tiered strategy to achieve the goals outlined in the DEIA Strategic Plan. EDI’s Special Emphasis Portfolio Strategists have identified several initiatives to advance the Strategic Plan’s objectives, including but not limited to:
- Collaborating with NIH Senior Leadership and other relevant offices to bring about structural and cultural change, especially in reaching parity and representation in leadership ranks.
- Developing strategies for fostering psychological safety in the workplace, by partnering with leadership, working groups, and the broader NIH community.
- Examining policies, practices, and procedures across NIH that may pose barriers to recruitment, career development, and advancement opportunities.
- Focusing on outreach with the communities and delivering training that fosters DEIA principles.
- Strengthening accessibility efforts.
- Initiating a collaborative investigation on pay equity at each IC.
In the coming months, our office will release a full summary report detailing our findings from the DEIA Listening Sessions, which were held from July 2022 to December 2022. The summary report will include an action plan to address the concerns raised by each community. These action plans will play a critical part in achieving the objectives highlighted in the DEIA Strategic Plan.
The launch of the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for DEIA is a critical step in creating a safe workplace where employees from all communities feel they can thrive. By committing ourselves to advancing DEIA, we are building a legacy of social responsibility and leadership at the NIH. DEIA principles must be incorporated into everyday practices and decisions within each IC. EDI will take an active role in the implementation of the DEIA Strategic Plan, working diligently to create an inclusive culture for all employees. Thank you for your support as we continue this journey together.
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