Uniting against structural racism

On March 2, 2021, Helene Langevin, MD, the Director of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) expressed her full support for the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative, UNITE, to end structural racism in biomedical research. In the “Director’s Page” message, Dr. Langevin stresses the importance of supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion and eliminating biases and disparities. She further emphasizes, “Bringing together varied perspectives from diverse populations and cultures is central to what we do. By its very nature, integrative health needs to be inclusive, and all voices should be heard and valued.” The UNITE initiative is detailed on the NIH page, “Ending Structural Racism” with the following five specific aims:

U: Understanding the stakeholder experiences through listening and learning

N: New research on health disparities, minority health, and health equity

I: Improving the NIH culture and structure for equity, inclusion, and excellence

T: Transparency, communication, and accountability with our internal and external stakeholders

E: Extramural research ecosystem: changing policy, culture, and structure to promote workforce diversity

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, NIH Director provided the following statement, “To those individuals in the biomedical research enterprise who have endured disadvantages due to structural racism, I am truly sorry. NIH is committed to instituting new ways to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, and identifying and dismantling any policies and practices at our own agency that may harm our workforce and our science.”