The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is a global community of scientists dedicated to stem cell research and regenerative medicine, to the advancement of the field, and to the improvement of human health worldwide. As a scientific membership society and a global community, the ISSCR is committed to anti-racism, inclusivity, and diversity and to creating a welcoming environment that embraces unique perspectives and that encourages the participation of all people. Not only does this enhance the stem cell research community and accelerate scientific advancement through the incorporation of multiple, diverse viewpoints, it is central to ensuring that people around the world are able to realize the benefits of the rapid advances in translational research to improve human health.
The society makes this affirmation in the midst of the tragic and disturbing circumstances that we have seen unfold over the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other people. The events of the past week have highlighted that racism and pervasive inequality toward Black people continues to persist across many parts of the world. We have seen cities around the world engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement to express solidarity and raise awareness, and the ISSCR expresses our support to achieving greater justice and equality for Black lives across the world.
In acknowledging and reflecting on the many conversations we have all been witness to over the last week, the ISSCR is affirming its commitment to fostering an inclusive community, which can be found in the society’s code of conduct:
The ISSCR is committed to providing a safe and productive meeting environment that fosters open dialogue and discussion and the exchange of scientific ideas, while promoting respect and equal treatment for all participants, free of harassment and discrimination.
While the ISSCR has stated this commitment in our society policy, we recognize that we need to do more. The society will continue to support efforts to increase participation of underrepresented minorities in our broader scientific community and create an environment welcoming to all regardless of race, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation, disability, country of origin or residence, or economic disparity. We will also search for sustained ways for the society to dismantle any anti-Blackness and implicit bias within our community.
The ISSCR has a history of addressing needs that our community and leaders have identified, and will continue to do so broadly. For example, we have developed resources and programming specific to women in science, recognizing the unique challenges across the global that face women in scientific fields. The ISSCR is again hosting a seminar at its annual meeting, inviting women from different ethnic backgrounds and countries to share their experiences, and welcoming all members of our community into this conversation. Each year, the ISSCR strives to create programming that represents the breadth and diversity of science and of our community. These efforts have been positive and impactful steps, and the ISSCR looks forward to working with our community as we continue to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for all stem cell research and scientists to thrive, and focus on our mission to promote excellence in stem cell science and applications to human health worldwide.