NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Bernard Delivers King Lecture at UPenn Medical School

An infographic featuring a watercolor paining of Dr. Martin Luther King along with the question, "What Would Dr. King" say?


Asking “What would Dr. King say?,” Dr. Marie Bernard, NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity, began her keynote address at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School’s 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. symposium.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Bernard used quotes from King to highlight NIH activities that foster an inclusive scientific environment. She spoke of how “we need different perspectives being brought towards science to ensure that we’re getting the best science,” to bend what King called the “arc of justice.” 

She also told the audience about the NIH UNITE initiative, the Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) and Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) programs, and Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC). 

Dr. Bernard
Dr. Marie Bernard

Bernard thanked the many NIH staff involved in UNITE and at each institute and center for their passionate efforts to foster an environment of inclusion and belonging for all in the biomedical and behavioral science ecosystem. 

As Bernard pointed out, King also said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

For UNITE updates, visit To learn more about ComPASS, see FIRST and MOSAIC details are online at and, respectively.

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