Feedback Sought on the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan Framework for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility


We are pleased to announce that the framework for the NIH-Wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan was released earlier this week (NOT-OD-22-061). Your input on the framework as the plan is developed is encouraged. Feedback will help us ensure that DEIA principles continue to be embraced and integrated across NIH going forward.

We strongly believe that an inclusive and diverse pool of highly talented individuals is key for the country to remain a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation (see these posts for more). This means we must actively consider factors that address DEIA principles and appropriately embed them within NIH and the wider scientific community. Embracing this DEIA vision will enhance our ability to drive biomedical innovation and serve an increasingly diverse US population.

The NIH-Wide DEIA Strategic Plan strives to clearly communicate our DEIA vision. It will align with the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan released last year, and encompass our ongoing initiative to address structural racism in biomedical research as well as build on the wider federal effort to expand DEIA across the workforce.

The scope of the plan covers accomplishments, needs, opportunities, and challenges related to DEIA within the NIH workforce, its structure and culture, and our supported research. The main objectives are to:

  • Implement organizational practices to center and prioritize DEIA in the workforce
  • Grow and sustain DEIA through structural and cultural change
  • Advance DEIA through research

What are the potential benefits or drawbacks to this framework? Are there priority areas missing? Which best practices and policies are likely to foster positive culture change? What barriers stand in the way? How should DEIA be defined for the purposes of this effort? What metrics measure progress?

We welcome your comments and feedback on the framework. Please send them electronically by April 3, 2022.

Photo of Dr. Marie Bernard
Marie A. Bernard, M.D., Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity
Shelma Little headshot
Shelma Little, Acting Director of the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Julie Berko headshot
Julie Berko, Director of the NIH Office of Human Resources

One comment

  1. I am responding to the Strategic Plan for DEIA, rather than the three objectives, as the Strategic Plan has more specific details. I am looking at the description of how diversity is defined and pleased to see that disability is included in addition to underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and women. What I recommend and would like to see is inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community in these types of initiatives. I have noticed that NIH’s operationalization of gender as male and female (or even male, female, other) is non-inclusive of the trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming communities. I think it is important to promote greater involvement of the LGBTQIA+ community in decision-making and policy-making related to health initiatives and health research. Please feel free to contact me to discuss this further.

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