EDI strives to advance diversity and inclusion at NIH and ensure that the civil rights of all of our employees are protected. The Sexual & Gender Minority (SGM) Portfolio is directed at ensuring that this constituency remains a successful part of a broader diversity and inclusion strategy for the NIH.
Established in 2013, the SGM Portfolio at NIH (previously known as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Special Emphasis Program) is committed to fostering a workplace atmosphere that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans*, intersex, queer, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming employees, patrons, and research. The term sexual and gender minority” (SGM) more broadly references LGBTI and other populations whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and reproductive development is considered outside cultural, societal, or physiological norms.
The SGM Portfolio is an EEO program that works to ensure that equal opportunity for SGM employees are present in all aspects of the agency’s programs and services. Among its goals, the Portfolio seeks to:
- Improve employment and advancement opportunities for SGM employees
- Identify systemic barriers to opportunity for SGM employees
- Monitor agency progress in eliminating discriminatory practices that adversely impact SGM employees
- Cultivate a more welcoming environment for SGM employees and patrons
- Collaborate in strategic partnerships with Institutes and Centers (ICs) to recruit and retain members of the SGM community
- Educate and increase awareness of issues pertaining to SGM populations
- Provide guidance and support to supervisors, managers, and employees
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 SGM Portfolio. Together, we develop collaborations to advance the representation of our SGM employees in all occupations of the NIH workforce and to support this constituency in achieving their fullest potential.
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 SGM constituency is a critical piece of our overall diversity strategy.
MEET THE STRATEGIST
With an academic background in cultural studies and languages and extensive professional experience in public health arenas Bali White first joined NIH in 2014 as an Intramural Research Training Awardee, assigned to the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences. As a Fellow she presented research posters across NIH, on Capitol Hill, and at the International AIDS Conference in South Africa regarding intersectional impacts on the health of African American women of transgender experience in NYC. She also co-authored an American Psychological Association textbook chapter on counseling transgender people of color.
Prior to NIH, she was an Associate at the National Center for Transgender Equality responsible for organizing trainings, workshops, on topics related sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations, including cultural sensitivity, Equal Employment Opportunity law, etc. as well as collaborating with the Department of Justice, White House, Department of Education, Congressional Staffers, and other federal agencies, as well as corporations, universities, etc to improve workplace policies, health and legal coverage, and other relevant topics in the areas of diversity and inclusion. She also monitored progress in eliminating discriminatory practices that adversely impact SGM employees as well as assist in developing workplace inclusion policies, protocols, and trainings, and acted as the main point of contact organizing meetings with members of Congress on issues impacting transgender and other SGM populations; assists agency to monitor federal activity and communicate the communities and allies nationally.
Bali’s previous career efforts focused on addressing the unique health needs of hard-to-reach SGM populations. She received a commendation in 2009 by the NYC Comptroller for her outstanding work and research and was invited to the White House in 2013, as an emerging LGBT leader and a longtime Research consultant with NYC Dept of Health. She designed and managed NYC and CDC funded health programming at community-based organizations such as Hetrick-Martin Institute, Housing Works, GMHC, and Harlem United serving SGM youth and adults. Most recently at Lutheran Medical Center she coordinated HIV/STD and Hepatitis prevention strategies targeting populations often thought inaccessible—undocumented immigrants, the homeless, youth, LGBT—throughout Brooklyn neighborhoods. She also served on the National Advisory Board for the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, and the NYC HIV Prevention Planning Group.
In her spare time Bali studies kathak, a classical north Indian dance form, and volunteers weekly at the Smithsonian Institution's Cheetah Conservation Station.
More About the Portfolio
Our promise is to foster a supportive and safe atmosphere for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, and/or gender non-conforming employees, patrons, and allies through education and outreach.
In service of the mission, we are guided by the following beliefs:
- Sexual and gender diversity adds value to our workforce and to scientific research
- All persons deserve equal access to employment opportunity - irrespective of sexual orientation/gender identity
The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) signaled a historic moment in the United States and in the individual and collective lives of loving, married, same-sex couples and their families. The decision acknowledged the constitutional right of same-sex persons to pursue legal marriage; and, granted same-sex couples equal access to the tangible benefits of the federal safety net. As an extension to the Court’s decision, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is now able to extend benefits to legally-married, same-sex spouses of federal employees and annuitants, regardless of the employee’s or annuitant’s state of residency.