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The NIH Director’s Award Recipients for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion 2021

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The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is excited to announce the following award recipients for the NIH Director's Award. Each award acknowledges employees for their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion across the National Institutes of Health.

This year, although we don't get the chance to gather in person, it is essential to recognize those who cultivate a culture of inclusion, leveraging diverse talent to advance health discovery. We honor these remarkable members of our community with these three individual awards for their dedicated work.

The Harvey J. Bullock Jr. Award was established to recognize employees who champion the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This award was specifically designed to recognize the achievements of those employees who are not at the senior level.

The Yvonne Thompson Maddox Award was established to encourage significant and continued efforts in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion at the NIH. This award was specifically designed to recognize non-supervisory employees' achievements at grades 13 and higher or the equivalent who exemplify the spirit of the award.

The NIH Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award of the Year was established to recognize executives, supervisors, or managers who have excelled in furthering NIH's equity, diversity, and/or inclusion efforts. This award is granted to leaders who exemplify the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Congratulations, awardees!


Dr. Angel de la Cruz Landrau, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Dr. Angel de la Cruz Landrau
Dr. Angel de la Cruz Landrau, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Award Citation

In recognition of of his significant contributions toward promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion at the NIH by developing and advocating for the inclusion of all underrepresented groups in the neurosciences, specifically the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities.

Since becoming part of the NINDS community as a graduate student in 2012, Dr. Cruz realized that his true passion lay in mentoring and training young neuroscientists. To further his knowledge and interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Cruz completed a detail in the Office of Intramural Training and Education to learn the specifics of training and outreach programs for underrepresented communities, and to learn about policies surrounding DEI programs. Following that detail, he joined the NINDS Division of Extramural Research Programs to Enhance Neuroscience Workforce Diversity (OPEN) to learn strategies for outreach to the extramural community.

This award also recognizes Dr. Cruz in his work to further develop a robust program for American Indian and Alaska Native summer students. He expanded the program to include post baccalaureate students as mentors, connected it to other programs on Native American reservations, and overall created a positive impact for our own students and those on the reservations. Additionally, Dr. Cruz comes from both the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities and folded these communities into the program. His powerful work and ability to connect deeply with underrepresented students is paving the way to a more diverse and inclusive future at the NIH. Congratulations, Dr. Cruz.


Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbet
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Award Citation

In recognition of her commitment to public health nationwide and advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion at the NIH.

Dr. Corbett is a viral immunology expert doing crucial novel vaccine development for pandemic preparedness, including a leading vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Corbett’s team designed and rapidly deployed the vaccine concept for Phase 1 clinical trial, which unprecedently began only 66 days from viral sequence release. This vaccine was shown to be 94.1% effective in Phase 3 trial and is authorized for use in multiple countries.

Dr. Corbett is no stranger to adversity, and her work to reach a population that is skeptical about science and medicine due to the history of past events such as the infamous syphilis Tuskegee experiments, Henrietta Lacks experiment, and many darker historical events that were founded on racism, segregation, and unethical medical research, speaks to her dedication and deep understanding of the intersection between public health and diversity and inclusion issues. Dr. Corbett has been involved with several news media interviews, serves as a mentor to people of diverse underrepresented backgrounds, and uses her voice to ignite change in health equality and STEM education that this world so direly needs. As part of her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, she serves as a key member of the VRC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) that was established in November 2020. In June 2021, she will be appointed as Assistant Professor at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases where she will continue to do transformational scientific research. In the powerful words of Dr. Corbett, “It’s not about what you’re saying, it’s about how you relate to the people you’re saying it to.” Congratulations, Dr. Corbett.


Brian Trent, National Eye Institute (NEI)

Brian Trent
Brian Trent, National Eye Institute (NEI)

Award Citation

In recognition of his outstanding leadership in diversity and inclusion efforts.

Mr. Trent leads the Diversity in Vision Research and Ophthalmology (DIVRO) program, which matches interns to research projects in NEI labs, has permanently hired staff from the NIH Project SEARCH program, and is an active member of the NIH UNITE committee. Mr. Trent cultivated a partnership with Montgomery College, the most diverse community college in the US, and hired students from underrepresented communities with the goal of exposing them to a career in biomedical science. In light of troublesome events in 2020, he planned the NEI Racial Equity and Social Justice listening session, an open discussion forum for all NEI employees to share their stories and perspectives about current events or issues that need to be addressed within our workplace. Mr. Trent shared his personal experiences of racial injustice with over 200 participants.

Mr. Trent established the NEI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council made of 13 NEI staff members. Their mission is help create strategies, frameworks, policies, procedures, and support for accelerating the achievement of diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. To help develop the NEI Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, Mr. Trent initiated a multi-year contract with Schuler Solutions, a Virginia-based consulting firm that specializes in workplace change management, to build mechanisms that uphold equity across all stages of employees’ careers.

Under Mr. Trent’s leadership in 2020, NEI increased hiring diversity and diversity among administrative supervisors. Congratulations, Mr. Trent.

To the recipients of these awards: thank you for your continued commitment and excellent work. Our work has evolved rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is vital that we recognize and honor those who are rising to the occasion to ensure equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion remain a primary focus at the NIH. We are grateful for your powerful contributions to this crucial mission.

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