NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH’ers Earn HHS ‘Call to Service’ Award

The Supporters of 8CRE recently received the 2023 HHS Mary Brodie-Henderson Call to Service Award, which is among the highest honors bestowed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. It specifically recognizes employees who, through their volunteer service, make a direct and consequential impact towards advancing the department’s mission. 

Jackson, smiling broadly and holding 8CRE's award, stands between Becerra and Palm. Five flags are lined up behind them, including an American flag on the far left, with a dark blue curtain behind the flags.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm (r) present the service award to supporters of 8CRE. Accepting on behalf of the group is Dr. Sadhana Jackson (c) of NINDS and NCI.

Eight Changes for Racial Equity (8CRE, pronounced “acre”) was proposed in 2020 to NIH leadership, by a self-assembled group of NIH staff motivated to ensure the workplace culture was free of racism, discrimination and harassment, and committed to compassion, respect and understanding for all. 

Since then, the group has initiated and sponsored several activities and events to enhance the workplace community, including Juneteenth 19 Days of Wellness and collaborative webinars with NIH’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In addition to serving as panelists on EDI webinars, the group collaborated with staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to organize a monthly live webinar series, Authentic Conversations. There were nine webinars total.

According to the award nomination, 8CRE supporters were recognized for “their dedication, teamwork and leadership…that has been catalytic to develop initiatives to end structural racism, promote racial and ethnic equity, and to provide [science, technology, engineering, math] STEM career development to historically underserved groups inside and outside NIH.” 

Activities undertaken as a result of the Eight Changes go beyond simply initiating this important conversation and include the release of an NIH Director’s statement against structural racism in biomedical research issued in March 2021, a virtual Town Hall on Achieving Racial Equity held in April 2021, establishment of the NIH anti-racism steering committee, as well as numerous policy and training enhancements to strengthen NIH’s stance on this important matter.

Beceraa poses for a picture with 10 of the supporters of 8CRE.
Shown with Becerra (standing, fourth from r) are NIH’ers (standing, from l) Dr. Bettie Graham of NHGRI, the CC’s Jennifer Simmons, Dr. Leah Hubbard of NCI, Dr. Mia Rochelle Lowden of NINR, Jackson; Dr. Rob Rivers of NIDDK, Dr. Troy Muhammad of NCI, Dr. Ericka Boone of OD/ OER, Dr. Eddie Billingslea of NIGMS and (seated) Dr. Cheryl Jacobs of NIH’s Office of Science Policy.

The group’s work was influential beyond NIH, continued the nomination. 

“[They] established a partnership with another grassroots movement at the CDC Friends of the 7 Acts of Change...Together, they developed programming to mentor the next generation of scientists and thought leaders in [diversity, equity, inclusion and access] DEIA by inviting STEM and DEIA experts from R1 research institutions, the federal government and private sector. 

Additionally, this forum is used to change the narrative on what types of science careers are accessible to historically underrepresented groups. For example, at the May 19, 2022, forum, Black leaders in space exploration shared their journey into their careers and how they are using their platform to dispel misinformation that limits access.”  

The NIH Record

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

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

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