Dr. DaJoie Croslan, Chief Operations and Diversity Officer, AIBS
This piece is one in a series of blog entries called “BioScience Bytes.” In them, authors provide commentary on topical issues, enlivening the sciences and making science approachable for all readers.
Science is strengthened by the open exchange of diverse perspectives and ideas. In our mission to advance science-based decision-making for the benefit of science and society, AIBS is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our staff, members, volunteers, as well as the broader life sciences community. AIBS values and embraces diversity in gender, race, color, ethnicity, age, sex, class, religion, national origin, ability, language, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, as well as career stage, life experience, and area of expertise. Bolstering a framework supporting the highest quality science, we are committed to cultivating a culture based on inclusion, equal opportunity, and mutual respect by promoting diversity in our community programs, publications, communications, peer advisory and review services, leadership, advocacy, and outreach [AIBS Inclusivity Statement].
AIBS is committed to infusing the ideals and values of our inclusivity statement into all aspects of our work. One way in which we support these ideals is in the celebration of the history and heritage of underrepresented scientists. According to the World Health Organization, 16% of the globally population is living with a disability, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27% of adults in the United States are living with some type of disability. These individuals constitute an underrepresented and underserved population. We invite you to learn more about disabilities and join us in our celebration of Disability Awareness month, during which we will highlight information, individuals, and organizations that educate, support, and provide services for scientists with disabilities.
We invite you to consider whether students and professionals that you interact with have a disability that is visible or not visible. Consider whether your environment is accessible to and/or supportive for a person with a disability. Questions to ask are:
- Is your laboratory accessible?
- Is your classroom accessible?
- Is your annual society meeting accessible?
- Are your lectures, journal articles, lab meeting agendas, and meeting pamphlets accessible?
- Is there a support group in your department or society for students with disabilities?
As you consider these questions, reach out to your institution, department, or society to determine what resources are available to support students or staff with disabilities. Reach out to disability services on campus or ask if there is a disabilities workgroup within your institution, society, or organization. Engage with these professionals and ask directly how the scientific environment can be more inclusive, diverse, equitable, accepting, and accessible—and if these service do not exist, create them. Once you have some feedback, share it with your colleagues, leadership, and society membership. However, don’t stop at sharing; commit to being the impetus for the change that is needed, and then share your success story with all of us.