Racial Equity Initiative - Workforce

The NIDA Racial Equity Initiative Scientific Workforce Diversity Workgroup seeks to increase racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the addiction research community by identifying disparities and systemic barriers, engaging the community at all education and career levels, and implementing programs and funding opportunities to enhance, promote, and retain historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities in addiction science within the US.

DrivePrioritiesProgress to Date
Lack of racial/ethnic diversity in the addiction research workforce and existing systemic biases in the scientific enterprise necessitates improvements in approach and outcomes.
  • Identify disparities & barriers
  • Engage community at all levels
  • Implement programs/funding opportunities to promote and retain diverse scientists in workforce
  • Improve culture to better engage talented scientists from underrepresented minorities (URM)
  • Increase racial & ethnic diversity, equity, & inclusivity in addiction research community
  • Listening sessions
    • Internal >10 completed; 2 external to date
  • NIDA IRP Research Internship Pilot - Internships for undergrads in IRP labs
  • New Diversity & Inclusion Review Criteria added to Additional Review Criteria section of FOAs
Next Steps
  • Listening sessions - Planning >10 external sessions across various stakeholders (type, focus, career stage)
  • Multifaceted approach - Using subcommittees within our workgroup, move progress forward from multiple angles
  • Data-driven focus areas & action items -  Short-term & long-term plans will be informed by consistent reassessment, literature analysis, community input

Themes from Workforce Listening Sessions:

  • Mentoring
    • Cultural sensitivity training for mentors
    • Need mentors from underrepresented backgrounds
  • Funding Decisions
    • Prioritization of scientific questions that address often under-funded research interests of BIPOC
  • Grant/review process
    • Make enhancing diversity a reviewable component of grant applications
    • Diversify review panels
  • Training programs
    • Supplement current NIDA outreach materials aimed at HS to include scientific career awareness
  • External input
    • Peer-advice model for listening sessions
    • Assess why people leave addiction research careers and what they pursue instead
  • Outreach specific to career stages
    • Current grantees, HBCUs, MSIs, Offices of Minority Student Affairs at majority-serving institutions, race- and ethnicity-focused orgs (e.g., Black and Latino fraternities/sororities)
  • Retention
    • Achieve recognition and equal promotion of BIPOC and their research contributions nationally
    • Assess NIH grant review processes and other systemic factors/inequities preventing BIPOC advancement, promotion, and retention within the addiction science workforce