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New NICHD EDI Initiative Will Shape the Next Five Years in the Institute

September 7, 2021

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Office of Health Equity is leading a new initiative called STrategies to EnRich Inclusion and AchieVe Equity (STRIVE). Watch/listen to the presentation on the initiative delivered by Dr. Charisee Lamar, director of the Office of Health Equity, which covers the timeline in developing the initiative, from a backdrop of various events in 2020, to an open letter to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins from a grass-roots group of NIH staff, and how the STRIVE initiative ultimately came to be.

Experts from across the institute comprise the three committees centered on each of the three distinct, but inter-related themes: (1) ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in NICHD’s workforce; (2) enhancing opportunities for EDI in the broader scientific workforce, and (3) planning, conducting, and supporting health disparities research.

A primary goal of STRIVE is to outline concrete activities to serve the three initiative themes through an action plan that will complement the NICHD Strategic Plan and guide the direction of NICHD’s activities and policies for the next five years. Internal activities include the ongoing analysis of the NICHD health disparities research portfolio and the NICHD scientific workforce demographics. Workshops and information exchanges will engage internal and external stakeholders.

As part of the initiative, the STRIVE Health Disparities Research Committee (centered on theme 3, aforementioned) launched the STRIVE for Change IDEASCALE Campaign to welcome comments from stakeholders to share feedback on important research topics. You can post new ideas, vote, and comment on existing ideas through the NICHD Ideas Community. The forum provides an easy and transparent avenue for public discourse about NICHD workshops (sessions are held from July to October; see the dates and topics overview here) and individual scientists have the opportunity to voice concerns and recommendations to reduce barriers in health equity research.

Previous workshops covered topics that include:

  • Establishing a New Frontier in Health Disparities Research Across the Lifecourse (held on July 14; watch the recording here);
  • How Social Identity Can Impact and Promote Health: A Look Across Populations, Lifespans, and Generations (held on August 4; watch the recording here); and
  • Societal Influences on Health and Health Disparities During Childhood (held on August 25; see agenda here). This most recent workshop featured a day full of back-to-back presentations from a breadth of professionals specializing in maternal and childhood health, from pediatricians in community clinics, to head researchers operating government-funded programs serving marginalized communities (including Indigenous populations, Asian-American populations, and more).

Interested in shaping the future of the NICHD health disparities research portfolio? You can read and submit comments or register for the two upcoming workshops (the next workshop will be held on September 15, on the topic “Community-Engaged Research Strategies to Mitigate Health Disparities in NICHD Populations”).

Check out the NICHD August 2021 Research Spotlight: High daily screen time linked to cognitive and behavioral problems in preterm children.

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