The purpose of the Black Employment Portfolio at NIH is to identify and eliminate barriers that exist in the outreach, recruitment, and employment of Black/African American employees, and to build an inclusive workplace where employees can actively utilize their talents and contribute to the success of the NIH.
EDI strives to advance diversity and inclusion at the NIH and ensure that the civil rights of all employees are protected. The Black Employment Portfolio at NIH is directed at ensuring that this constituency remains a successful part of a broader diversity and inclusion strategy for the NIH. This Portfolio is federally mandated, its authority grounded in Presidential Executive Orders dating back to 1969.
The goal of this portfolio is to enhance the outreach, recruitment, retention, and advancement for members of the Black community at the NIH. This program exists to inform and make recommendations at all levels of Agency leadership so that inclusive behavior and a diversified environment are a reality and not merely a philosophy for our constituency. We are fully committed to equal employment opportunity, a workplace free of discrimination and harassment, and a leadership that supports inclusivity so that the ideas and perspectives of our constituency are valued and leveraged for the benefit of the NIH.
EDI works in partnership with the Office of Human Resources (OHR), the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD), and NIH leadership to support the Black Employment Portfolio. Together, we develop collaborations to advance the representation of our Black employees in all occupations of the NIH workforce and to support this constituency in achieving their fullest potential. EDI also works to create partnerships with NIH Institutes and Centers, resource groups, and other programs within the NIH community that foster an inclusive environment and ensures career progression of our employees. We are advocates of strategies that result in better outreach and recruitment efforts to increase the representation of Black employees in NIH occupations. In addition, we stress to our NIH leaders the importance of owning the establishment of inclusive workplaces that support, encourage, and help Black employees achieve their career goals.
At NIH, we understand that our responsibility to diverse groups extends well beyond federal mandates. We define diversity broadly to include all elements of our human identities and encompass every aspect of difference. Within EDI, we are interested in leveraging the ideas of each NIH employee to fuel innovation and drive health discovery. The Black/African American constituency is a critical piece of our overall diversity strategy.
MEET THE STRATEGISTS
Kiana Atkins is the Principal Strategist for the Black Employment Portfolio in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
As a DEIA practitioner, Kiana wholeheartedly believes in the importance of creating a culture of belonging for all employees through intentional, inclusive practices. Her credo is as follows: employees are an organization's greatest asset, an equitable workplace for all employees is possible through proactive, strategic, and collaborative partnerships.
Prior to joining EDI, Kiana worked as a Diversity & Inclusion Analyst for the Census Bureau's Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity & Inclusion Office. In that role, she worked to advance strategic efforts on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across all operations. Kiana is a skilled DEIA trainer and facilitator with expertise teaching inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, and the proactive prevention of discrimination, harassment, retaliation.
Kiana is a Maryland native and holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Analytics. She is a believer in practicing mindfulness and all things inspirational. In her spare time, Kiana enjoys hiking, reading, yoga, and music that soothes the soul.
The Engagement Committee of the Black Employment Portfolio at NIH is comprised of talented, visionary NIH employees who are deeply committed to ensuring the success of Black employees at the NIH. They act as ambassadors of the portfolio and as agents of change at NIH. As a collective unit, the committee members examine the data and issues impacting the Black employee population at the NIH, paying close attention to the workforce profile for this constituency and their advancement opportunities. The committee debates and addresses inclusion issues concerning Black employees by identifying and discussing diversity and civil rights issues. It also provides education and training to the NIH workforce. Their observances, forums, and recruitment efforts are aimed at increasing retention rates of Black employees and ensuring they are being considered in succession planning at the NIH. The committee coordinates and facilitates activities on campus; critiques and executes action plans; and identifies barriers to the employment, promotion, and advancement of Black employees at NIH.