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NASEM report recommends a way forward to increase antiracism, diversity, equity and inclusion in STEMM

February 16, 2023
By: Ellen Marrison

A report many years in the making was released this week by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) that, for the first time in the organization’s history, confronts racism in its title. After the summer of 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, federal agencies and private foundations prioritized sponsoring a report on antiracism and diversity, equity and inclusion, focused on science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM). The resulting Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations: Beyond Broadening Participation aims to move beyond promoting numeric diversity and outlines actions that STEMM leaders and gatekeepers can take to “foster a culture and climate of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion that is genuinely accessible and supportive to all.”

NASEM appointed the Committee on Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in STEM Organizations — what Co-chair Gilda Barabino, president of the Olin College of Engineering, in a webinar announcing the release of the report called one of the most diverse committees the National Academies had ever appointed. The team of experts and practitioners were tasked to review the research and evidence from lived experience on ways in which racism impedes STEMM careers for historically minoritized racial and ethnic groups; identify principles for sustainable change; identify policies and practices for changing existing systems; identify examples of effective strategies to advance antiracism in STEMM organizations; and define a research agenda to address gaps in knowledge in the evidence base to advance antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The result is a 319 page report that hits on all those points and outlines a set of recommendations to “remove barriers and pave the way forward.”

In order to reach the full potential of all U.S. residents, the report outlines recommendations that provide guidance on advancing change regarding antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI). But as noted in the webinar and in the report, “ADEI are not a single set of goals that organizations can work toward, achieve, and declare the work concluded. Instead, these efforts demand sustained attention, leadership, and resources to flourish.”

To that end, some of the actions the report calls on stakeholders across the STEMM enterprise to take include:

  • Promote a culture that is accessible and supportive to all and address norms that impede diversity;
  • Fund grants to understand and translate policies, programs, and practices of Minority Serving Institutions to predominantly White institutions; and,
  • Develop and implement an inclusive, multi-faceted plan to support people from minoritized groups at all levels of STEMM organizations.

The full report is available to download here, and a recording of the webinar will be available on nationalacademies.org in the coming weeks. 

diversity, equity, inclusion, report, policy recommendations, stemm