Dr. Michael Chiang, NEI Director
NEI’s ability to remain at the forefront of vision research and to ensure that scientific discoveries truly benefit all depends on a workforce with diverse skill sets, viewpoints, and backgrounds. NEI is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent the full breadth of talent from contributing to the biomedical research enterprise. @NEIDirector
The COVID pandemic has brought front and center the impact of inequity on the prevention and treatment of disease among vulnerable people. This reality underscores the need to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in clinical trials and the conduct of research, as well as in the translation of scientific discoveries into effective treatments in the clinic.
In the NEI workforce we see the need to broaden our recruitment efforts and to create clearer paths for all employees seeking professional development, opportunities for advancement and satisfying careers.
With the goal of cultivating a diverse workforce, we are starting by examining the current racial and ethnic makeup of NEI. This is part of a broader NIH effort that seeks to strengthen DEIA throughout the agency.
In support of the NIH UNITE Initiative, the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) released NIH workforce demographic data, including for NEI, for the end of FY 2021. The data include a high-level workforce snapshot by race and ethnicity; sex; and disability status for FTE employees (contractors, fellows, trainees, and Commissioned Corps are not included). The workforce data will be updated and posted annually to help guide NIH’s EDI efforts.
NIH’s Commitment to DEIA Efforts
NIH is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) at NIH and at the institutions we fund. The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) leads NIH’s DEIA efforts for all NIH staff, including racial and ethnic groups, women, sexual and gender minorities, and people with disabilities in all occupations. The Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) plays a key role in ensuring that all groups are represented in the NIH scientific workforce and leads NIH efforts in the science of scientific workforce diversity. And the Office of Human Resources (OHR) works closely with EDI on policies to create a civil workplace and address allegations of harassment. In recent years, NIH has bolstered its efforts to address harassment through the NIH Civil Program and launched the UNITE initiative to tackle structural racism. Currently, under the leadership of EDI, COSWD, and OHR, the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, is coordinating with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, in developing the NIH DEIA Strategic Plan.