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From the NIH Director: NIH 2016 Black History Month Message

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

Black History Month reminds us of the American pioneers throughout history who strove to make a better life experience for all who reach for the American Dream, not only African Americans. Likewise, this month of reflection reminds us, within the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), of the fundamental principles of the work of equal employment opportunity (EEO)––equity, diversity, and inclusion. These principles are aimed at serving, protecting, and improving the employment experience of all employees of every tradition. NIH Director Francis S. Collins encouraged each and every employee to take an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of African Americans (in science and in every field of human endeavor) to this very cause. His message is a call to all of us to get involved in ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts at the NIH. Please read his message below. NIH's Black Portfolio within EDI is proud to share the Agency's observance of Black History Month 2016 through a month-long EDI Blog and social media campaign on our Twitter and Instagram pages. Enjoy!

Each year during the month of February, the nation celebrates Black History Month. In 1915,
historian, author, and journalist Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson - nationally recognized as the “Father of Black History” - founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASALH was created to encourage and preserve Black history and culture.

NIH’s Black History Month theme is “Honoring the Past, and Inspiring the Future.” The theme pays homage to the ancestors of the past, while looking to the future generation to preserve and communicate the rich legacy of Black history. Knowing the history of Black America is to understand and to appreciate the journey that was taken, and ensures that the past continues to influence, improve, and secure the future. Black history is American history. It should not be acknowledged one month out of the year, but celebrated every day, so that future generations understand the richness of the culture.

I urge you to join in this opportunity to celebrate Black History Month. Visit the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Twitter and Instagram pages to find Black history facts, as well as photos of Blacks in science, education, engineering, technology, and civil rights.

I also encourage you to support the Black Special Emphasis Portfolio and to get involved in efforts to improve the outreach, recruitment, retention and advancement of this and other diverse populations at the NIH. For more information, please contact Victoria A. Gross, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at 301-451-0746 or

Sincerely yours,

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