In August 2020, HEI renewed and expanded its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of environmental health with the release of its Action Plan to Promote Inclusion.
The Action Plan (available below) describes key steps to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all at HEI, and to include individuals from racial and ethnic groups who have been underrepresented in environmental health research.
The Plan sets goals for improving performance, monitoring progress, and reporting publicly and regularly on that progress and steps still to be taken.
Shortly after release of the Action Plan, many of HEI’s own staff stepped forward to form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force that works with leadership to achieve the Plan’s stated goals. HEI is pleased to report on some early steps taken to advance inclusiveness, both within the organization and through external work:
- Internally, HEI is in the process of recruiting a consultant to help ensure an inclusive and welcoming work environment. HEI also has begun to enhance efforts to diversify its staff, Board, expert committees and panels, and annual conference and webinar speakers.
- Externally, HEI continues to explore ways to reach out more effectively to scientists from underrepresented groups. This includes revising language on research and fellowship applications, expanding opportunities through a new or existing scientific fellowship program, and expanding efforts to engage individuals from underrepresented groups in HEI's review activities as well as external expert panels.
HEI leadership has been regularly communicating with staff about ongoing DEI efforts and is encouraged by the work of the Task Force in its first year. At the same time, HEI understands that bringing about meaningful and sustained institutional change requires an ongoing commitment. Therefore, it is now revisiting the August 2020 Action Plan to define a strategy that lays out top-priority initiatives and timelines for completing them.