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Clinical Center News
Winter 2022

Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility at the Clinical Center

Leadership focuses on reducing disparities

The NIH Clinical Center has developed a comprehensive program to combat racism and reduce disparities across the workforce. This initiative will be implemented in early 2022.

This program includes a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) committee, with a mission to create, promote and sustain an organizational culture that advances DEIA in all levels of the Clinical Center. While this program is new, the concepts are not. The hospital depends on a diverse workplace that embraces a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Senior leadership has highlighted the need to focus on and elevate the organization’s DEIA values, particularly related to structural racism and inclusion.

The vision of the Clinical Center's program is to highlight and ensure that the hospital is proactive in reducing disparities across its workforce, especially in leadership positions. As it currently stands, NIH’s total workforce is not representative of the nation’s overall demographic makeup and the equity gap is even greater when looking at career levels within the demographics.

The DEIA program aims to highlight and ensure that the hospital is proactive in reducing disparities across the workforce, beyond hiring initiatives. The Clinical Center is actively making efforts to ensure it continues to provide a safe, inclusive, diverse and accessible environment for all staff. These efforts include:

  • Creating an action plan based on DEIA best practices, internal and external data, and feedback from our staff
  • A video from Senior leadership highlighting the importance of DEIA and the planned improvement efforts
  • Creating a permanent committee focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion goals and identifying DEIA champions within all departments

NIH also offers great resources for accessibility such as the NIH Reasonable Accommodation Program in the EDI Office, a central interpreting program that enables employees who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing to request interpreters and Communication Access Real-time Translation services. Furthermore, EDI implemented a Race, Accessibility, Culture and Equity working group that looks to positively influence individual, institutional and structural change on these issues at NIH. However, these examples do not mean the work is done. Success will be reached when all staff at the Clinical Center feel welcomed, respected and valued.

"This will be a shared responsibility for all of us, so wide-spread understanding and on-going support will be essential to the overall success and sustainment of what will be a very long-term effort. However one thing we know for certain is, the time to act is now and we are doing exactly that," said Ila Flannigan, the deputy executive officer of the Clinical Center.

"In the words of Dr. Francis Collins at the launch of the UNITE initiative, 'Our resolve must be unflinching – it must not waver in the face of difficulties or tire at the magnitude of the problem.' " added Flanagan.

More staff information is available on the DEIA page (staff only).

- Janice Duran

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