Our ASM community is linked by a science that, like the microbes we study, transcends borders. Our diverse membership includes scientists and researchers from across the globe and in a wide range of disciplines. From Sept. 15-Oct. 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month, we reiterate our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization by celebrating the accomplishments of our members who identify as Hispanic and/or LatinX.
Hispanic/LatinX microbiologists have made incredible contributions not only to the field, but also within their local communities. Take for example the Sociedad de Microbiólogos de Puerto Rico, an ASM Branch, whose members created the first and only Spanish-language session “ASM ¡en Vivo!" at ASM Microbe and produce ASM’s Spanish-language podcast “El Mundo de Microbios.” The branch is also highly engaged in supporting the next generation of scientists through active student chapters and participation in many ASM initiatives, including the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), one of the largest conferences bringing together underrepresented students in STEM, 25% of whom identify as LatinX and/or Hispanic.
This month, we share stories from incredible Hispanic/LatinX ASM members. As we recognize these individuals and their achievements, we also acknowledge remaining barriers we must address. The Hispanic/LatinX community comprises 18.5% of the U.S. population. However, this population has a representation of less than 3% in the science and engineering U.S. workforce. At ASM, about 12% of U.S. respondents identified themselves as Hispanic/LatinX according to the 2020 DEI Taskforce Report. Our survey also indicated the need for increased leadership within ASM and the desire for mentorship opportunities among students and early career researchers from the Hispanic and LatinX communities.
ASM continues to take steps to bridge the gap. ASM’s collection of papers in the 2020 Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JBME) includes strategies for LatinX inclusion in microbiology programs. ASM also cosponsors the Carlyn Halde Latin American Student Travel Award in collaboration with the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas to support the travel of a student medical microbiologist from Latin America, Puerto Rico or the Caribbean to participate in ASM Microbe. In addition, ABRCMS will be held virtually this November to continue our commitment to offer a forum for students to present their research, enhance professional development skills, explore graduate schools and network.
There is much more to do at ASM for Hispanic/LatinX members, but also for all underrepresented groups in microbial sciences. To guide this important work, ASM counts on the leadership of its members, including those who identify as Hispanic/LatinX. ASM is seeking candidates to serve on the Inclusivity, Diversity, Equitability, Accessibility and Accountability (IDEAA) Committee beginning in 2022. The IDEAA Committee is a Board-level committee that represents ASM’s accountability, commitment and mission to promote and advance the microbial sciences through elevating, embodying and sustaining IDEAA.
We invite candidates with experience in nonprofit leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, talent acquisition and passion for ASM’s mission and future strategy to consider applying by the Oct. 15 deadline.
Focus on Hispanic & LatinX Microbiologists:
Interim Chair, IDEAA Committee
At-Large Board Director, ASM Board of Directors