The purpose of the Portfolio for Blacks 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 Portfolio for Blacks 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 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 STRATEGIST
Victoria “Vikki” A. Gross
A native of Washington D.C., Vikki has 31 years of federal experience. She returned to the area after a 23 year stay in New York City. While in New York, she worked for several federal agencies including the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ms. Gross processed EEO complaints at the informal stage and oversaw several EEO collateral duty counselors. As the Special Emphasis Program Manager (SEPM), she was responsible for revamping the Special Emphasis Programs and managing all special emphasis observances to include: MLK, Black History, Asian Pacific Islander, Women’s History, Hispanic Heritage and American Indian/Alaskan Natives. She created a Multi-Cultural Committee, consisting of over twenty employees from several disciplines (Engineers, Scientists, Geologists, Administrative Staff, etc.), to examine the barriers to employment for the protected classes, and to cultivate an awareness of diversity. She was also instrumental in establishing the first Mentoring Partnership between local alternative high school and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District.
In addition, Ms. Gross maintained data files to support the annual submission of the Management Directive 715 (MD 715); provided monthly, mid-year, and yearly reports on Workforce Analysis and Awards; and represented the EEO Office as an advisor for Corporate Selection panels, Incentive Awards Committees, and briefings to Commanders. She is a previous recipient of the National Federal Women’s Program Award for Diversity in 2004. In 2006, Ms. Gross became the first full-time SEPM for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters and Humphreys Engineer Center Support Activity where she was responsible for overseeing all special emphasis programs. Ms. Gross possesses extensive EEO technical and business knowledge. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Marketing from City University of New York.
The Advisory Committee of the Portfolio for Blacks 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.
- Sylvester Jackson
Administrative Laboratory Manager
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
- Kenny Williams
Education Program Coordinator
Clinical Center (CC)
- Sherri Cook
Extramural Support Staff
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Lori Purdie
Clinical Center (CC)
- Jean Lud-Cadet
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Toddchelle Young
Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
- Linda Haynes-Jackson
Center for Information Technology (CIT)