by Rosanna Olsen, Valentina Borghesani and AmanPreet Badhwar on behalf of the OHBM Diversity & Inclusivity Committee
OHBM initially launched a “Diversity and Gender Task Force” in 2017 to address the growing need to recognize and address multiple forms of inequity with respect to gender balance and geographical representation on the OHBM Council.
Since 2017, this initiative has worked towards tackling a range of issues surrounding underrepresentation at OHBM. The task force has evolved into a standing “Diversity and Inclusivity Committee” that meets regularly to ensure that the needs of the diverse OHBM community are adequately represented at all levels of the organization and in all of its activities. Not surprisingly, members of the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee liaisons with all OHBM Committees and SIGs throughout the year.
During this year’s virtual meeting we are planning a series of different events to highlight and celebrate issues of diversity and inclusivity in OHBM.
The 3rd annual DIC symposium: Racial Bias in Neuroscience
This is the third year OHBM will feature a symposium devoted to the discussion of issues in diversity that affect our society. In 2019, speakers presented issues of gender equality that are present at the OHBM meeting, it’s leadership, and the field of human brain mapping. Speakers provided an overview on gender imbalances in academia, including citation counts, conference speakers, and prize awardees. The issue of biologically versus culturally driven sex differences in brain anatomy was also discussed. In 2020, speakers discussed neuroscience issues pertinent to the LGBTQ+ community such as underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM careers and the complex nature of gender/sexuality and how these factors are addressed in research.
This year’s symposium will be exploring issues of racial bias in neuroscience. People of color are not well-represented in academia, especially at senior levels (e.g. Full Professor). This year our speakers will discuss issues such as systemic racism and other factors leading to the underrepresentation of Black and Latin scholars. Moreover, as in many areas of science, the majority of human brain mapping research is conducted in homogenous, non-representative populations, which is problematic for the interpretability and generalization of research findings. Strategies for promoting equity within the field of human brain mapping, overcoming current barriers for ethnic minorities in OHBM, and increasing the ethnic diversity within our research samples, will be discussed.
This year Diversity Symposium speakers: Dr. Sharleen Newman (University of Alabama), Dr. Yakeel Quiroz (Harvard University), Sade Abiodun (Princeton University)
The 2nd edition of the Kids Review - this time multilingual!
After the success of the Kids Review in 2020, which led to five Frontiers for Young Minds papers, this year our kids-friendly initiatives are scaling up! We opened up to young reviewers from all over the world by reaching out directly to schools and, critically, by offering the experience in five different languages. Children speaking Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, French, or Italian will be able to act as reviewers for five different papers presented by OHBM members. Whether in school with their teachers or at home with their parents, kids will be able to watch the prerecorded talk in their native language (with subtitles either in their native language or in English) and then ask questions directly to the researchers the day of the live Q&A during our annual meeting.
This monumental effort required a full team of volunteers across three continents and more than seven countries, some are OHBM members, some educators, scientists, or teachers - in alphabetical order they are: Inês Almeida, Aman Badhwar, Giulia Baracchini, Valentina Borghesani, Eunji Cho, Antea D'Andrea, João Duarte, Mariana Flores, Eduardo Garza-Villarreal, Kirk Geier, Soo Hyun Kim, Hyang Woon Lee, Kangjoo Lee, Anaïs Llorens, Laura Marzetti, Rosanna Olsen, Pedro Pinheiro Chagas, Ana Luísa Pinho, Maria Ribeiro, Viviana Siless, and Athina Tzovara. We all came together united by the desire to bring the latest scientific output of our community to the bright, curious, young minds of future scientists!
Too much fun to miss out? You can still register in our online form & check out details on our self standing website!
Our paper in NeuroImage and associated Diversity Roundtable at OHBM 2021
The OHBM Diversity and Inclusivity committee published our first paper in 2021. In this paper, we reviewed the composition and activities of the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee that have promoted diversity within OHBM, in order to inspire other organizations to implement similar initiatives.
We strongly believe that these activities have brought positive change within the wider OHBM community, improving inclusivity and fostering diversity (e.g. sex distribution of council members and speakers provided as an example below) while promoting rigorous, ground-breaking science. Limitations and challenges faced by our committee and the way forward are also discussed in this paper.
Sex distribution for committee members and Tailarach lecture and keynote speakers. Dark colors highlight the number of women; light colors indicate the total number of individuals. Dotted lines mark the year 2016 when the DIC was established. Image from Tzovara et al, 2021.
During the 2021 annual meeting, we will be holding a Diversity Roundtable to showcase the findings in this paper, and discuss with the community on how to further improve equity, diversity and inclusivity at OHBM.
The Diversity & Inclusivity Committee can’t wait to share this (and more!) with you during the annual meeting! Let’s recap (click here for a D&I-specific google calendar): We’ll see you there.