Dear ASM Members and All Stakeholders,
An essential part of ASM's mission is to embrace diversity in the STEM community. Being inclusive enhances innovation, broadens the health research agenda and furthers scientific advancement. ASM is committed to fighting social injustice and racial disparities, as well as addressing systemic inequities in the microbial sciences and across the globe. We know that complex scientific problems can better be solved by harnessing diversity, tapping different perspectives, training, cultural backgrounds and experiences.
- ASM continues to advocate for policies that demand equity and inclusion in science and allow Black, Indigenous and People Of Color (BIPOC) in STEM to reach their full potential.
- ASM’s Journals committee is taking steps to improve the representation of Black microbiologists in our family of journals and working toward gender equity in scientific publications after analysis showed that women are underrepresented and receive more negative outcomes.
- ASM published a collection of papers on inclusive science in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JMBE). The issue covers 3 key areas: an understanding that inclusion is the foundation for the future of colleges and universities, the need for radical changes in faculty support and the removal of barriers to understand social issues and the university experience. Strategies for LatinX inclusion in microbiology programs are also highlighted in these papers.
- ASM joined #ShutDownSTEM to assist in eliminating racism and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in our staff, volunteer leadership and membership.
- ASM was a gold sponsor of #BlackinMicrobiology week, a grassroots organization that highlights accomplishments of Black microbiologists from around the world and fosters a supportive community for their work.
- The Public and Scientific Affairs Committee (PSAC) Subcommittee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities held a Capitol Hill briefing, “Strengthening Career Pathways in Science for Underrepresented Groups.” The discussion encouraged Congressional staff and federal policymakers to build on advancements made by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
- Articles about diversity and inclusion are posted on asm.org, and will continue to be a core focus of ASM’s content strategy.
- To help us better understand and meet the needs of our members and other stakeholders, ASM staff began refining and expanding how demographic information related to gender and race/ethnicity is collected.
Addressing issues of equity, inclusion and diversity requires immediate action and will be an ongoing work in progress. While we look to the future, we will also continue taking actions that reflect and advance our vision of a more diverse scientific association. To this end, the Board voted for the following:
- Form a Rapid Working Group to reform the nomination process for ASM’s elected positions. This will ensure inclusiveness and diversity in our leadership ranks. Past President Robin Patel, Chair of the Governance Committee, will lead this group. The goal is to pilot a new process for the 2021 ASM elections.
- Collect enhanced demographic data. Starting in 2021, ASM will capture race, gender and other demographics more effectively, so that we can measure our progress and adjust our efforts as needed.
- Revise current position descriptions to ensure that our staff will be focused on, and held accountable for, always fostering a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Culture change is hard and requires continuous work. The ASM Board of Directors is committed to working hard to support and expand our scientific community as we advance the microbial sciences. We embrace a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, and invite you to join us.
To gather broad input as we determine how best to act on the taskforce recommendations, we invite you to email us with your comments and thoughts on the report findings.
Chair of the Board of Directors
ASM President (in representation of the whole ASM Board of Directors)
ASM Staff, firstname.lastname@example.org