NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

EDI Names Collins Women’s History Month ‘Game Changer’

Dr. Francis Collins
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) has honored NIH director Dr. Francis Collins for being a catalyst for change by challenging structures that disadvantage women while continuing his commitment to the success of NIH.  

“Dr. Collins is an example of how men can proactively and routinely advocate for women’s rights, changes to culture and prevent gender discrimination,” EDI said in a statement. Collins has said, “It is not enough to give lip service to equality; leaders must demonstrate their commitment through their actions.” 

Last year, he directed an advisory committee to the NIH director working group to develop strategies and system-wide changes to culture and climate, for the prevention of harassment and gender discrimination. He created the working group after learning of several high-profile sexual harassment cases involving federally funded investigators. 

Collins has also spoken out against all-male panels. “Starting now,” he said, “when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities. If that attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda, I will decline to take part. I challenge other scientific leaders across the biomedical enterprise to do the same.”

EDI commended Collins for his stance on gender equality. “It is our honor to select him as the organizational Game Changer for Women’s History Month,” the office stated. 

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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