About the Portfolio for Blacks


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.


Samantha-Rae Dickenson

Dr. Samantha-Rae Dickenson, is a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion strategist with professional and educational experience in varying industries including Biomedical Science & Research, Public Health, and Education. Dr. Dickenson was a Career Development Lead at ORWH prior to joining EDI. She has worked in the non-profit sector as a DEI strategist to lead the development of Save the Children’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 3-year strategy. She has also worked as a Senior Accreditation Specialist to assess compliance of accreditation policies related to cultural competency, diversity and inclusion, and financial planning for public health graduate and undergraduate schools/programs. Dr. Dickenson has also been a guest on the Roland Martin show where she discussed systemic racism and the negative stereotypes and unconscious biases Black people face. As a Black, immigrant, woman with intersecting identities, she has the first-hand experience in adapting to environments that are different from her own and enjoys actively creating spaces where people feel comfortable showing up as their authentic selves.

Dr. Dickenson has a diverse educational background which includes a liberal arts associates degree, a BS in Biology, and a MS in Public Health. Dr. Dickenson graduated from the University of New England as the youngest doctoral graduate from the Educational Leadership and Organizational Management Program. Her research focused on the effects of racial microaggressions on Black female government workers' work performance, and methods to reduce microaggressions in the workplace. She also talks about Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Intersectionality and unconscious bias in her research.

In her spare time Dr. Dickenson enjoys cooking and trying new recipes.

> Contact Samantha-Rae


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.