For the first time in the society’s 20-year history, we hosted a panel discussion on Equity in Stem Cell Science at the 2021 Annual Meeting. It was the start of an important conversation, and a step toward addressing inequalities among researchers and future patients the world over.
While the ISSCR represents members in more than 72 countries, there remain regions where we have little presence, regions where we need to connect, listen, and engage and groups of members or potential members whose voices are not being heard. Even within existing member countries, there will be barriers to inclusion for some. Gender, ethnicity, wealth, age, disability, seniority. In our current global situation, these divides can become greater without even being noticed. The Vision for our society is a world where stem cell science is encouraged and discovery advances human health and our promise has been to help the field to reach its full potential. For this reason, we need to challenge ourselves to facilitate inclusivity in our field as an international scientific society.
We are in the early stages of developing a revised five-year strategic plan, for the ISSCR. Arnold Kreigstein, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, USA joins me in guiding this initiative, but it will involve a process of engaging with members and leaders across the society. The plan focusses on the primary tenets of our organization: excellence, advocacy, and collaboration, to name a few. For this strategic plan, we’re adding a new core area: diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We want to learn from scientists who feel their voices have not been heard, to build the capacity to address the diverse needs of our community, and to examine the ISSCR’s role in facilitating inclusivity on the international stage.
The ISSCR is seeking scientists at all career stages who would like to play an integral part in shaping the society’s role and defining practical steps to address gaps in equity. If interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story, research, and your vision for a more equitable environment in which stem cell researchers learn and thrive.
As a professional society we have the responsibility to do better. Join us to shape this future.