Scientific Diversity Advisor added to hospital staff
[This article is an update to a story published in December 2022.]
Cecelia (Cece) C. Henry has been hired as the new Scientific Diversity Advisor for the NIH Clinical Center, coming from the hospital's Nursing Department.
Henry serves as principal advisor to Clinical Center leadership, negotiating recommendations and actions on special initiatives and projects involving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA). She leads a variety of programs designed to address DEIA issues for the Clinical Center and is Chair of the hospital’s DEIA Committee.
In this role, Henry promotes DEIA within the hospital by examining policies, resources and workplace culture from this perspective. Her goal is to make sure that everyone is included and respected in the work performed in the hospital while continuing serve the population and its mission.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility is about the life and culture of organizations. Henry believes that the value of looking at things from a DEIA perspective may not have been fully understood in the past, but the value of DEIA is much more evident now that research and data support these initiatives.
“We can improve, we can make this a richer output or product. Our work product is much richer with input from diverse people and diverse points of view,” says Henry.
One of Henry's first priorities is to get the Clinical Center’s DEIA Advisory Committee up and running. This committee will be composed of representatives from all departments within the hospital, and it will serve as the action center for DEIA initiatives and as a conduit for people to share their concerns, feedback and ideas. Henry is excited to hear the perspectives and issues that will be brought to the table.
Clinical Center CEO, Dr. James Gilman, addressed the first meeting of the hospital’s DEIA committee and the end of January and lauded the work ahead.
“This will be a committee that has extremely important work and a committee that, I think, is unlike many others in the Clinical Center.”
“This is a heavy lift. We will not get where we want to go anytime soon, but we won't get anywhere if we don't get started, if we aren't persistent and if we don't give up.”
As the hospital's Scientific Diversity Advisor, Henry recognizes that a diverse workplace can create challenges. One of the challenges presented by a diverse workplace is everyone is different, and they are going to see the world differently. This can lead to various perspectives and communication styles which can make it tough for everyone to understand each other and work toward a common goal. The objective is finding that shared commonality that people can draw off and work together in an optimal way. Henry emphasizes understanding that our differences bring value, and we need to appreciate differences and recognize the value that the things that make us unique can bring to various projects and workplace initiatives.
“Two people can look at something and have vastly different perspectives… exploring perspectives and finding that bridge between different groups of people to have that common understanding, that shared pool of meaning, is key,” stated Henry.
Previously, Henry served as co-chair of the NIH Clinical Center Nursing Department Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and currently serves on the NIH Antiracism Steering Committee and the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Black Engagement Committee.
She earned an MS in Health Services Leadership and Management, Executive Practice, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She also holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership from Cornell University and a certificate in Business Analytics from the Wharton Business School. Henry received a 2021 NIH CEO Award for creation and leadership of the NIH Clinical Center Nursing Department Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council and a 2020 NIH CEO Award for her leadership in creating an education program for rapid training of registered nurses to support the NIH Critical Care COVID-19 Initiative.
Henry is dedicated to promoting inclusivity in the workplace and committed to finding common ground to help improve the work we do in the Clinical Center.
When faced with a coworker who may not understand the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, Henry advocates for these principles by asking the individual to imagine themselves as a member of a marginalized group or community. She asks them to think about how they would feel if they could not advocate for themselves and their community. She emphasizes that we are all connected, and that something that affects one group will eventually affect us all. By making the issues relevant and personal to them, Henry hopes they will begin understanding the importance of DEIA in the workplace.
Please visit our Intranet DEIA page (staff only) for more information.
- Janice Duran and Dan Lonnerdal