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ASPET’s Strategic Plan: Diversity

Last month, I highlighted the impact of the 2023–2027 ASPET Strategic Plan when it comes to the Society serving as the “leading voice promoting the field.” This month, I want to focus on how the Society has changed in the past year with its strategic focus on cultivating an “Inclusive and Diverse Culture.” Ultimately, ASPET is cultivating a diverse and inclusive community that creates a sense of belonging, engagement and harmony within our interdisciplinary pharmacological community.

Over the past year, ASPET established the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee to ensure the Society would focus on making ASPET a place where everyone feels they belong. Since its inception, the IDEA Committee has accomplished the following:

  • Hosting three webinars as part of the Focus on Pharmacology series, covering topics such as the challenges international pharmacologists in the U.S. workforce face and how to define and identify bias in the workplace.
  • Conducting an IDEA Needs Survey and IDEA Focus Groups to ensure ASPET understands the current perceptions, needs and opportunities of ASPET members through an IDEA lens.
  • Holding a virtual roundtable with ASPET Division Chairs to learn about the IDEA-based needs they’ve observed and heard from their division membership.
  • Organizing an educational session at the ASPET 2024 Annual Meeting that explored how to incorporate IDEA within the multifaceted realm of pharmacology education.

In addition to the progress of the IDEA Committee, ASPET leadership also displayed IDEA principles in other ways. For example, at the 2024 ASPET Annual Meeting, the meeting’s theme of “Advocacy. Diversity. Discovery.” made it clear that ASPET aimed to make the meeting a diverse and inclusive event for our attendees. To help accomplish that goal:

  • The first Keynote Speaker of the event was Marie A. Bernard, M.D., the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the NIH, whose talk was entitled “Diverse Perspectives in Science: Why and How?”
  • An IDEA Forum Luncheon was held, with a presentation entitled “Are You a Fraud or Simply Amazing? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome.”
  • For the first time, ASPET launched the Family Support Fund for ASPET 2024, providing funds for dependent care for members to be able to attend the meeting.
  • Closed captioning was provided at all General Sessions.
  • ASPET set aside space at the meeting for both a Mother’s Room, as well as a Quiet/Prayer Room.
  • IDEA elements were considered in selecting all of the Concurrent Sessions, such as ensuring gender balance, ensuring underrepresented communities were included as speakers, and ensuring representation from all career stages and work settings.

While there is still much progress to be made on ASPET’s journey toward an inclusive and diverse culture, we’re proud of the steps we have taken thus far and excited about the future.

The signature of Dave Jackson, Executive Officer, ASPET, rendered in green

Dave Jackson, MBA, CAE
Executive Officer, ASPET