I write to you today as SRI’s new Vice President for Diversity and Structural Change, a position I am honored to be in, and a topic in which I am very passionate. Diversity in experience, perspective, approach, and interpretation reflect the cornerstones of scientific advancement and innovation, enrichen our toolbox for problem solving, and are key to improving reproductive health outcomes. Inclusion goes beyond making our members feel comfortable and treating them the “right way”; it means proactively seeking a diverse group of members because of the value of their differences to our mission. An organizational mission centered on diversity and inclusion seeks a heterogeneous membership, creates a culture of equal access to all opportunities and resources, and ensures all individuals can contribute fully to the organization's goals and success.
So why should we care about Diversity and Inclusion? Organizations with strong diversity and inclusion strategies experience longevity and are more likely to stay relevant and be successful. As VP of Diversity and Structural Change, my primary goal will be to help design a robust and sustainable strategy that promotes a diversity and inclusion (D&I) blueprint that engages our members, resonates with prospective members, and provides an example of excellence for our partner organizations.
Regarding the latter, SRI has already begun trailblazing work with over 20 like-minded organizations through the Collective Action Addressing Racism initiative, led by ACOG. The current issue of 1st Alert features a statement created by the Recognition Sub-Group with which SRI is an active participant. I encourage each one of you to read the document and to reflect about how you may be an advocate of reproductive rights and an agent of change. The organizations involved in the Collective Action initiative are committed to officially designating February 28 and March 1, the dates that bridge Black History and Women’s History months, as days for formal acknowledgement of Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha, the enslaved women operated on by Dr. J. Marion Sims, and other enslaved Black women who were subjected to abuse in the name of advancing science. Please join me in recognizing and honoring these important women.
I look forward to keeping you all apprised of my initiatives through messages like this, throughout the year.
Genevieve Neal-Perry, MD, PhD