A lot has been written about diversity issues in science. Compared with two decades ago, women are now better represented among medical and graduate students, postdocs, and assistant professors. However, despite gains, we still have a smaller than desired number of senior women faculty and far fewer faculty from under-represented minority groups—at Mount Sinai and nationwide. Recent studies continue to document implicit biases in the scientific workplace, and concerns remain around quality of life issues and obstacles to faculty retention and promotion that affect everyone. At the Friedman Brain Institute, we are driving an ongoing discussion — now in its fifth year — designed to formulate positive steps through which we can make progress in these areas. We cannot solve societal issues, but perhaps we can serve as a smaller focus group and demonstrate the kinds of tangible actions that lead to real improvements.
Mission Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Our goal is to support highly innovative research in basic and translational neuroscience by creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment that empowers all members of our community to contribute to scientific discovery. Our goal is to generate an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment that fosters creativity to fully understand nervous system function and develop therapies and cures for nervous system disease. We commit to listening to and learning from the many diverse voices of our community in order to remove barriers to opportunities and success while promoting equality for everyone.
We denounce all forms of racism and bias endemic in our society. Bias, as well as structural and overt racism, negatively impact our trainees, staff and faculty, and prevent us from reaching our full potential. We pledge that:
- All our faculty, trainees, and staff will become educated to recognize and combat racism.
- We will continue to build partnerships with local and underserved communities to provide opportunities and promote equity, diversity and inclusion in science and medicine.
- We will actively listen to and respect, support, as well as advocate for our trainees, faculty and staff who have been subject to racism and bias, including those that are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We will work to increase their representation, demand equitable treatment and opportunities, and actively report our progress.
- We will work to end racial inequality within our department and among the greater community represented by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.