Since its inception, the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB) has been an example of how spaces and behaviors in bioengineering and biosciences can be reimagined to facilitate interdisciplinary research at the highest levels. The members of the IBB community are leaders, and through our collective leadership we create the future not only for our disciplines but also for the society as a whole. The repeated failures of our society to address the challenges of police violence and systemic racism are extending an opportunity to us to collectively lead in the effort in creating a safer, more inclusive, and more highly prosperous environment for our historically underrepresented minority faculty, trainees, and staff.
The message from our most recent town hall forum is that now is a time for action. As such, we have established a new IBB committee for diversity, equity, and inclusion to help coordinate our work.
The committee is constituted of our IBB members including:
- Edward Botchwey (BME, committee Chair)
- Andrés García (ME, IBB Director)
- María Coronel (ME, Postdoctoral Representative)
- Nettie Brown (BME, Pre-doctoral Representative)
- Lakeita Servance (Staff Representative)
- Milan Riddick (BME, Undergraduate Representative)
This committee is now meeting regularly to plan activities and new events in the coming months. Our committee has several immediate areas of focus:
- Creating a new distinguished lecture series focused on inclusion and diversity excellence. The inaugural lecture will take place in Feb 2021, and we are thrilled to announce that Kamau Bobb will be this year’s distinguished speaker.
- Promoting and leading diversity and inclusion curriculum-based training across IBB.
- Engaging with existing trainee and student groups to advance the culture of inclusion.
- Sharing personal experiences with racial injustice and bias.
We are also committed to re-examining the roster of speakers in our ongoing seminar series to recruit perspectives from underrepresented minorities. Recent events in Kenosha (Jacob Blake) and Rochester (Daniel Prude) have led us to plan another town hall forum this fall, and we hope to introduce the committee formally where we will solicit additional ideas and suggestions from our community.
One thing that is clear to the IBB community is that the time to change is now. We’re here, we're listening. Let's talk.