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NIH AA & NHPI group moves forward with momentum – and a mission

Hand placing six wooden cube blocks in a stack on a white background. Each block has different icons including a clock, people, magnifying glass, light bulb, gears, and a target.

“In a time of destruction, create something.”
—Maxine Hong Kingston, Asian American novelist

In April 2021, amidst the horrific rise of anti-Asian hate crimes nationwide and around the world,1 14 people from NIH’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) community gathered virtually to discuss what they could do to create positive change. As leaders of different AA & NHPI-focused NIH Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), they decided to join forces to provide a collective voice for the diverse AA & NHPI community across NIH. What developed was a new and dynamic group at NIH: the Federation of AA & NHPI Network (FAN).

FAN has grown to include 71 active members, with broad representation from Institutes and Centers across NIH and all segments of its workforce. Among its first-year accomplishments, FAN has helped ensure that AA & NHPIs have a voice in discussions on how to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) at NIH. For example, FAN has shared evidence-based data and personal perspectives on the specific workplace barriers that AA & NHPIs face and potential steps to tackle those inequities in meetings with the NIH director, NIH Institute and Center directors, scientific and clinical directors, executive officers, and other leadership across the agency.

To help guide its path forward, FAN also established its Mission and Vision statement:2

The mission of the NIH Federation of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA & NHPI) Network (FAN) is to cultivate an inclusive workplace where AA & NHPIs at the NIH feel seen, heard, valued, and have equal opportunities to thrive.

As strategic collaborators and thought leaders in the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) space, FAN uses a data-driven, community-informed approach to:

  1. Address issues impacting the AA & NHPI workforce;
  2. Identify actionable solutions; and
  3. Educate and engage NIH decision-makers and the wider community.

We accomplish our mission by operating as a broad coalition of NIH AA & NHPI-focused Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)3, thus increasing visibility and providing a collective voice representing the wide range of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge within the AA & NHPI community and beyond.

Building on the momentum of its first year, FAN plans to establish a steering committee, develop an online presence, launch sub-committees to tackle issues impacting the AA & NHPI workforce, and build relationships with other marginalized communities at NIH who share FAN’s vision of a workplace with DEIA principles. This vision can only be achieved through harnessing the strength of collective power.

As NIH Distinguished Investigator, Dr. Jake Liang (Chief, Liver Diseases Branch, NIDDK), who co-leads FAN along with Ms. Caroline Goon, the AA & NHPI strategist in NIH’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, stated on FAN’s first anniversary, “FAN is proof that together, we can do more, and together, when we speak up, our voices will be heard.”


  2. The Mission & Vision Statement (MVS) was developed and drafted by the ad-hoc FAN MVS Sub-Committee, led by co-chairs, Kelvin Choi, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Anna Han, Ph.D. Other members were Caroline Goon, M.S., M.B.A., April Oh, Ph.D., M.P.H., Celena Snoddy, M.P.A., and Lisa Yuan, M.S.
  3. The FAN coalition is made up of NIH AA & NHPI-focused ERGs, affinity groups, and scientific groups including, NIH Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Health Scientific Interest Group (NIH AA & NHPI-HSIG), NIH Asian Pacific American Organization (NIH APAO), NIH Association of Japanese Scientists (NIH AJS), NIH Chinese Students & Scholars Association (NIH CSSA), NIH Korean Women in Science and Engineering (NIH KWiSE), NIH Korean Scientists Association (NIH KSA), NIH India, NIH Federal Asian Pacific American Council (NIH FAPAC), NIH Society of Bioscientists in America (NIH SCBA), NIH Taiwanese Association (NIH TWA).

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