Turning Listening into Action
From its inception, UNITE has emphasized the importance of listening to each other—informally and formally—and internally and externally.
The results of these efforts to listen and understand are evident in recently posted reports and initiatives.
The UNITE External Listening Sessions Summary Report covers comments from the extramural community regarding diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and any structural racism that may exist within the biomedical and behavioral research ecosystem. The report summarized sessions that engaged 1,295 participants.
An analysis of the comments resulted in five cross-cutting themes: systemic inequities across the biomedical research ecosystem, challenges in career pathways and workforce, practices and policies as barriers to equity, challenges in health disparities research and challenges in addressing health care equity and health outcomes.
Initiatives that address these themes and more include the Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD), which provides R01 grants to institutions to support scientists who significantly contribute to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) and who are not currently supported by NIH research project grant funding. In addition, the Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions aims to enhance research capacity and educational opportunities at resource-limited institutions by providing funds to purchase modern, scientific instrumentation.
STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG) will provide grants to institutions with limited resources to help them assess their research capacity-building needs and develop action plans to meet those needs. And in collaboration with the Office of the NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, UNITE launched a prize competition to recognize effective strategies for enhancing DEIA in research environments: the NIH Institutional Excellence in DEIA in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize Competition.
For details on the new report and other key initiatives, see the April and May Co-Chairs’ Corner on the UNITE webpage: https://go.nih.gov/TRNfRVm.
About UNITE: UNITE acts as a think tank to promote equity, generate ideas, catalyze new actions and address structural racism that may exist within NIH and throughout the biomedical and behavioral workforce.