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Ways to Improve Diversity

There are a number of myths, Pacific Standard's Francie Diep writes, that people working to increase diversity in the sciences routinely encounter, such as there not being enough Black and Latino Americans who receive PhDs in the sciences or that a 'color-blind policy' is the best way to go, among others. But there are ways to counteract these myths, experts tell Diep.

For instance, the National Institute of Health's Hannah Valantine says she's created a database so that she can identify scientists from underrepresented groups who might be a good fit for any opening she has and to whom she can reach out. "It is illegal, in most states, to hire based on race. There is no law against outreach by race. You can do any outreach you like, by race, gender," Valantine says, noting that women and underrepresented minorities are less likely to apply cold for a job.

In addition, the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Gabriel Montaño tells Diep that a color-blind policy is actually the worst to have because it encourages assimilation. Montaño, who is also president of the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science, also notes that diversity also means have a group that acts diverse. "When you have a question on the board, ask them each to answer and you're going to get different answers," he says, adding, that "their approach to this problem may be a little different from somebody else's and that's a good thing because that's where you actually make transformation."