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Promoting Innovation: NIH Diversity Catalysts develop testable strategies to enhance diversity at NIH

Friday, September 18, 2015 — Poster Session IV

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
FAES Terrace


  • E Billingslea
  • AF Davis
  • A Han
  • J Lun
  • I Avila
  • HA Valantine


In 2014, NIH established a new, centralized focus for addressing scientific workforce diversity, led by Dr. Hannah Valantine, the inaugural NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD). COSWD leads and catalyzes scientific workforce diversity through data-driven innovations to recruit and retain the most talented scientists. COSWD is charged with coordinating diversity programs across NIH and is developing standards and best practices that can be implemented broadly. COSWD will launch scientific studies on new ideas for promoting diversity and inclusion practices in the NIH intramural research program (IRP), which will serve as a knowledge base for extramurally funded programs and initiatives. As a first step, COSWD developed the NIH Diversity Catalysts (DC) program: a trans-NIH committee of 62 diversity champions who are providing rapid and effective input at early stages of strategy development; tailoring initiatives to specific Institute/Center (IC) cultures; and facilitating implementation and evaluation of strategies within and across ICs. The DC program is a novel, action-oriented process built upon design thinking and near-term milestones (30, 60, 90 days) for developing and testing interventions. Selected pilots under way include a centralized, national database of IRP tenure-track applicants linked to an NIH "ambassador" program that connects highly competitive candidates with NIH through the database; 1- to 2-week "sabbaticals" for IRP principal investigators to recruit candidates at minority-serving institutions; and a trans-NIH intervention study on implicit attitudes regarding science and identity. The results of successful strategies will be evaluated rigorously and applied more broadly across NIH.

Category: Social and Behavioral Sciences