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I have an older female friend who loves science and talks about how she didn’t know a woman could go into research. She’s from a small rural town, where females choose between a handful of career options. Had her high school counselor told her about careers in science, she would have pursued that early interest. But her lack of a female scientist role model meant that she didn’t know a scientific career was possible for herself.

Role models from underrepresented groups are essential to the future growth of every field. “Studies have demonstrated that individuals who observe and interact with career role models who have a similar background have greater persistence in their STEM career,” wrote Dr. Marie Bernard, acting director of the NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Office, in her online blog.

This month, we continue our focus on support for underrepresented groups in science. Check out our Q&A with Dr. Aisha Burton, recently named one of “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor. As a female Black scientist, Dr. Burton stands at the intersection of two underrepresented groups—something she has celebrated throughout her career and in social media.

To continue the discussion beyond this month, we are beginning a new column to raise awareness of issues surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our inaugural article, “Deconstructing Bias: Uncover, Disarm, Educate,” covers the definition of bias and offers several resources to help break the cycle of racial disparities.

If you have questions or need support with these issues, please reach out to Dr. Triesta Fowler (triesta.fowler-lee@nih.gov) in the NICHD Office of Education. Dr. Fowler leads the NICHD DIR diversity initiatives.

We wrap up this issue with supportive sentiments from Dr. Fady Hannah-Shmouni in our “Clinical Corner” column, updates from the latest FelCom meeting in our regular “Rep Report,” and many March announcements and events!

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

Do you have an idea you’d like covered in the newsletter? Email our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.