The AAMC submitted a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Feb. 10 in response to a request for information (RFI) on the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) Draft Strategic Plan. The COSWD serves as the agency’s thought leader in the science of diversity. The RFI was issued to inform the development of a fiscal year 2022-26 COSWD strategic plan that uses evidence-based approaches to catalyze cultures of inclusive excellence.
In its comments, the AAMC expressed its strong support for the NIH’s commitment to prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the intramural and extramural communities, noting, “These NIH-wide initiatives occur amidst the national backdrop of overdue social change spurred by persistent racial and social inequities and injustices, and the AAMC commends the NIH for advancing inclusive excellence during this critical time.”
Drawn from perspectives from the academic medicine community, the letter proposed suggestions as the NIH moves forth with the strategic plan. Among the recommendations highlighted in the response, the letter urged the NIH to capitalize on the wealth of pre-existing evidence about the diversity of our biomedical workforce, to recognize how intersectionality shapes the scientific workforce, and to build and execute a strategy for disseminating the outcomes and success of programs. The AAMC’s comments also noted the importance of utilizing community collaboration and defined mechanisms of accountability to ensure that written strategies translate to actual reform.
Lastly, the AAMC urged the NIH to invest in meaningful conversations and mechanisms to measure climate and culture in the academic medicine community — without which representation and diversity cannot be sustained.
An RFI inviting feedback on the framework for the NIH-wide strategic plan for DEIA is due April 3.