This International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3, the American Society for Microbiology celebrates the achievements and contributions of scientists with disabilities to the field of microbiology. 

We reiterate our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization and focus on our efforts to enhance accessibility. ASM Journals has a policy on optimizing figures and tables for people with color vision deficiency (CVD). Additionally, several ASM Journals have published articles on accommodations for, and the inclusion of, scientists with disabilities in lab and classroom settings.

The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS), managed by ASM and funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), was founded to encourage students from historically underrepresented groups to pursue higher education in STEM. Toward this goal, over the past several years, the ABRCMS team has worked in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and other institutions to ensure that adequate accessibility resources are provided to attendees. ABRCMS 2022 conference organizers ensured that the needs of the ABRCMS Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) communities were met through ASL interpreting and captioning services.

While we recognize the efforts listed above, we also acknowledge remaining barriers in the field. We will continue to strive to increase and enhance accessibility across the organization and the microbiology field at large. We believe that the various perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of our diverse membership enhance innovation, broaden the research agenda and further scientific advancement.

Graphic showing people with disabilities.

Traversing STEM With Disabilities: Spotlight on Kyle Card 

Kyle Card, Ph.D., shares how his identity as a disabled individual with Mobius syndrome and Hanhart syndrome have impacted his experiences in STEM. 

Kyle Card, Ph.D.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Tips for Inclusive Teaching 

Following the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines increases the accessibility, inclusivity and equitability of courses for diverse learners and can improve the overall quality of instruction. 

Adapting as a Disabled Scientist: Spotlight on Chris Rensing

Chris Rensing, Ph.D. and Distinguished Professor at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou, China, has hereditary spastic paraplegia. Learn more about his research team and their investigation of how microbes utilize heavy metals and compensate for metal toxicity. 

How to Create Space for Students with Disabilities to Learn

Nearly 20% of undergraduate students in STEM have a reported disability. Taking the time to listen to student needs and creating space for them to learn can benefit everyone. 

A young girl uses sign language.

Supporting Deaf Students in Undergraduate Research Experiences: Perspectives of American Sign Language Interpreters

Deaf undergraduates are eager to engage in research but often feel marginalized due to lack of appropriate accommodations This JMBE article features interviews with 4 American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who provided full-time accommodations to teams consisting of 1 deaf student and 2 hearing peers during a 6-week internship. 

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education logo

Small Classroom Changes with Big DEI Impact

Educators can positively impact DEI in classrooms with small changes like staying current on DEI issues, modifying syllabi to be DEI-centered and creating safe spaces for students and colleagues.

Teacher in front of a classroom