We are a trainee-led committee established in 2019, initially to help increase diversity and representation at the NIDA IRP seminar series. Since then, we have broadened in scope to promote and celebrate diversity within the NIDA IRP. We received the 2020 NIDA Director’s Award for Diversity in recognition of our work.
We recognize that a trainee’s primary responsibility is laboratory or clinical work and that this comes above all. Yet we also believe that scientific research is strongly intertwined with principles of inclusion, diversity, and equity and that, as Dr. Francis Collins emphasizes, these are public-health issues and are thus central to NIH’s mission. We strive to build a more equitable work environment and foster a supportive and inclusive community, which we hope will ultimately contribute to better science and improved human health.
(1) To foster an inclusive environment that respects and celebrates the sharing of perspectives and in which everyone is and feels valued as an individual, (2) to advocate for improvements in diversity and representation in NIDA IRP seminars and professional-development programming, and (3) to promote equity, such that everyone has an equal chance to further their career and the overall NIDA mission. We aim to achieve these goals through educational initiatives and activities that bring awareness to and combat harmful beliefs and stereotypes, in order to create a space for conversations about accountability and growth.
Our committee is divided into the following three subgroups.
Seminar series subgroup:
This subgroup proposes speakers for the NIDA IRP seminar series to help increase its diversity and representation; these seminars constitute a Diversity & Inclusion (DiveIn) series within the NIDA IRP seminar series. Speakers usually fit into one of two general categories: those with a strong track record of advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or those from historically underrepresented backgrounds carrying out addiction-related science.
Previous Diversity & Inclusion (DiveIn) Seminars:
- September 29, 2020. Dr. Hannah Valantine, Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH. “NIH’s Scientific Approach to Inclusive Excellence.” In partnership with the NIDA Racial Equity Initiative.
- October 6, 2020. Kurt Schmoke, President, University of Baltimore. “Drug Policy Reform, A Mayor’s Perspective.” In partnership with the NIDA Racial Equity Initiative.
This subgroup organizes discussion-group sessions on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, sometimes coordinated with DiveIn seminars.
Previous Discussion Sessions
- November 17, 2020. Discussion session on Dr. Hannah Valantine’s seminar.
- February 5, 2021. The Hill We Climb: A Conversation with Women Scientists. In partnership with NIA and NIDA Women Scientist Advisors.
This subgroup crafts email announcements and newsletters sent to NIDA IRP staff, usually to celebrate national-heritage months and other nationally recognized days or weeks, or to acknowledge traumatic current events in a culturally informed and sensitive manner.
Current Committee Members:
Gisela Andrea Camacho Hernandez
Alexandria Bernal (former co-chair)
Olivia Drake (current co-chair)
Ben Klein (current co-chair)
Jorge Miranda Barrientos
Daria Piacentino (current co-chair)
David Reiner (co-founder and former co-chair)
Jesse Torija Maximo