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Approach for Inclusivity and Diversity

The research enterprise and genomics in particular should "adopt diversity as an ethos," a team from the National Human Genome Research Institute writes in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances.

NHGRI's Vence Bonham and his colleagues add that diversity is a process that needs to be ingrained into an institution's personality and suggest that an anti-racist approach to adopting diversity as an ethos that is intentional, critically introspective, and can sit with discomfort be applied.

"As workforce diversity initiatives materialize and expand, individual researchers, labs, and departments in the genomics community are left with the question of how they can contribute to this call," Bonham and his colleagues write. "We propose that adopting diversity as an ethos by utilizing an anti-racism approach should be used to answer this call."

The first step, they add, is to examine conscious and unconscious practices of structural racism as well as to consider the social climate within the scientific workforce. The authors call upon both individuals as well as research teams to critically examine whether they are working toward an equitable research environment.

In a related opinion piece in The Hill, NHGRI Director Eric Green writes that this approach is particularly important for the fields of genomics and genetics, which have been misused to justify racism. "Combatting racism is one step towards attaining a socially responsible, more inclusive future for genomics," he writes. "The field must offer supportive and collaborative environments for a diverse community of researchers and health professionals."