U.S. scientific leaders need to address structural racism, report urges

Katie Langin in Science:

Leaders in the U.S. scientific community must dismantle the power structures that lead to racial inequities within their organizations and create an environment in which everyone feels supported, says a report released today by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The 359-page report includes 12 recommendations for leaders who want to foster change. “There is no magic bullet; there’s no one single answer,” said Gilda Barabino, president of the Olin College of Engineering and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report, in a webinar today. “We need a multitude of approaches, and we need to do them strongly and meaningfully.”

A multipronged strategy is ultimately what’s needed to really move the needle, agrees Stephen Thomas, a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, who was not involved in creating the report. Past efforts have often involved incremental changes, says Thomas, a leader of the National Research Mentoring Network funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health: “Here’s a study here and let’s see if we can scale it, and here’s a study there and see if we can scale it—all one by one.” In contrast, he says the report’s call for implementing many changes at once is “a move in the right direction and it’s very bold at a time when we’re literally seeing elected officials … undermine the very objective evidence that the research is pointing out.”

More here.