The UNITE E Committee recently updated the research community on their progress towards creating a “multipronged strategy to advance racial equity and create the most inclusive biomedical research environment possible.” We wanted to briefly share a few of their efforts here.
As a reminder, NIH launched the UNITE initiative in March 2021 to end structural racism in biomedical research. Their inaugural progress report was released last October. One of five committees, UNITE E continues to focus attention on promoting and sustaining diversity, equity, and inclusion in the NIH extramural research ecosystem.
In the recent UNITE Director’s Corner message, the co-chairs Drs. John Lorsch, Ericka Boone, and Anna Ordóñez spotlighted several new UNITE-E led programs centered around:
- Enhancing the breadth and geographical location of research and research-related activities supported by NIH
- Purchasing modern, scientific instrumentation to enhance research capacity and educational opportunities at resource-limited institutions
- Helping institutions with limited resources assess their research capacity building needs and develop action plans to meet those needs
- Recognizing academic transformative cultures, systems, projects, and processes to promote inclusive excellence and create environments that foster and value a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA)
The following research areas were also recently cleared:
- Helping institutions conduct rigorous climate assessments and self-studies and develop action plans based on the results to improve institutional culture in support of DEIA
- Supporting research capacity building at resource-limited institutions in areas such as sponsored programs administration, faculty research, and institutional research policies and culture
UNITE E was also instrumental for leading policy changes in requirements that recipient institutions have behavioral codes of conduct. These internal controls help us further assure safe, respectful, and healthful working conditions for their employees and foster work environments conducive to high-quality research, free from harassment and discrimination.
We encourage you to read the full UNITE Co-Chairs’ Corner post for more on UNITE E’s efforts.