This May, the American Society for Microbiology joins the nation in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by highlighting the achievements and contributions of this community to the field of microbiology. We recognize the ground-breaking research conducted by award-winning ASM members like immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki, mycologist Kyung Kwon-Chung, environmental microbiologist Jizhong Zhou and former ASM President Alice Huang. These accomplished individuals represent thousands of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) scientists leading the way in microbiology and other disciplines.  

ASM promotes, celebrates and advocates for AAPI communities. ASM denounces the blatant discrimination that AAPI people have faced, especially within the last year. Stigma surrounding COVID-19 has spurred appalling hate crimes in the U.S., including numerous brutal attacks around the country. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian American hate crimes reported to police rose 149% between 2019 and 2020. The nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate recorded 3,800 hateful incidents during the first year of the pandemic, and estimates many others went unreported. 

Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have long been subject to stereotypes regardless of citizenship status, country of origin, native language or ethnic background. We strive to root out these biases within the society and the microbial sciences as a whole.  

ASM stands in solidarity with the AAPI community, and we are committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion a top priority in our mission to advance the microbial sciences. We aim to increase diversity within our leadership and volunteer positions to ensure that ASM reflects the demographics of the U.S. population and the entire spectrum of professionals advancing and promoting the microbial sciences. We are seeking ways to support and recognize all members of our community and ensure everyone has a sustained and active voice in all ASM's work.  Furthermore, we are actively working on our policies, practices and procedures to ensure exclusion and prejudice are not perpetuated in our programming, projects and activities. 

Please join us in supporting our AAPI colleagues by celebrating and continuing to foster a professional community that uplifts, empowers and celebrates all scientists. 

Vic DiRita
ASM President

Robin Patel
Immediate Past President
As a member of the AAPI community, I am proud of the work ASM is doing to be a more inclusive organization and will continue to advocate for diverse voices to represent our society.