The Science of Diversity Image: Thinkstock

The Science of Diversity

NIH recognizes the lack of diversity in the U.S. biomedical research workforce as “a scientific opportunity rather than as an intractable problem.”

The National Institutes of Health are putting the scientific workforce’s diversity problem in terms that profession understands.

NIH recognizes the lack of diversity in the U.S. biomedical research workforce as “a scientific opportunity rather than as an intractable problem.”

In a recent piece, NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity Hannah Valantine and NIH Director Francis S. Collins referred to diversity in the field as “a research challenge that can be pursued through the scientific method.”

The authors see creating a more diverse biomedical community as a way to better capture the intellectual ability of the country.

Collins and Valantine identify four challenges facing this effort:

  1. The impact of scientific workforce diversity on the quality and outputs of biomedical research itself;
  2. Evidence-based approaches to recruitment, retention, and career advancement;
  3. Psychosocial factors like unconscious bias and stereotype threat that influence who joins biomedicine and who leaves;
  4. Scalable strategies to disseminate and sustain scientific workforce diversity nationwide for the long term.

The full piece can be read on PNAS.

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