Fairness, Equality Paramount
The NIH Diversity Council recently briefed NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus on its achievements and on issues currently being addressed. Convened last January, the council's 18 members provide advice and guidance to the Office of Equal Opportunity regarding the effect of NIH programs, policies and procedures on the work force.
"I do not think that the fundamental problems of any one employee group are different than another group," Varmus said, applauding the council's diverse membership in opening remarks. "The issue is fairness and to assure that equality is achieved for everybody."
Council chair Dr. George Counts highlighted several of the group's accomplishments: establishment of governance issues and election of officers, completion of recommendations to the OEO director and staff on sign language interpreting services, and observance of gay and lesbian awareness month.
The council's four task forces -- established to review disability awareness/reasonable accommodations, special emphasis observances, incorporation of diversity in ICD orientation programs and trans-NIH outreach/recruitment for improving diversity at senior levels -- gave progress reports as well.
Asking the council to keep him informed of issues or problems, Varmus said he believes the Diversity Council has a real role to play in accomplishing NIH's mission.
For more information about the council, or to propose NIH-wide issues for its consideration, call Counts, 496-8697; Don Poppke, vice-chair, 496-6491; or Shirley Everest, diversity program manager, 496-4627.
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