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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at The Hastings Center

We know that words, and silence, can be powerful. There is much work to be done to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion, in our country, in the field of bioethics, and in the workplace. 

In an effort to center antiracism in our work and to address other forms of injustice, the Center has taken major steps in its public engagement programming, its research and scholarship, and its internal workplace activities.  

As a result of many discussions with the RACE Affinity Group at American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), we worked with bioethics scholars, authors, and editors, Faith E. Fletcher, Keisha S. Ray, Virginia A. Brown, and Patrick T. Smith to create a special report entitled “A Critical Moment in Bioethics: Reckoning with Anti-Black Racism Through Intergenerational Dialogue.” Highlighting the intergenerational work of mostly Black scholars, the report examines racism—particularly anti-Black racism—in health care settings, in health equity research and practice, and in bioethics. Led by research director and scholar Josephine Johnston, this project, and its accompanying webinar, was funded by The Greenwall Foundation.  

Our scholars Erik Parens and postdoc Liz Bowen designed and carried out a public series of six presentations on disability justice, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, called “The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability,” in which artists, activists, and thought leaders with disabilities discussed what flourishing means to them. In 2022, Parens, Bowen, and Hastings Center President Mildred Solomon also launched a new project funded by The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, “Professional Education for Anti-Ableist Health Care,” aimed at identifying and developing effective approaches to teaching health professionals about disability and ableism.  

Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents and The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, launched us on a two-day Health Equity Summit, “Righting the Wrongs: Tackling Health Inequities,” sponsored by The Hastings Center, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, and the American Hospital Association. Over 2,500 people attended, with many receiving continuing medical and nursing education credits.  

We created a webinar series entitled “Securing Health in a Troubled Time: Ethics, Equity and the Common Good,” presenting a number of events with national experts examining inequity in public health. 

We have taken steps to support the pipeline for new scholars of color within our field. Recently, we launched the Sadler Scholars initiative, in which six outstanding PhD students joined our staff for discussions about their ongoing dissertation research. The second cohort expanded to include nine scholars. Sadler Scholars have opportunities to present and receive critical feedback on their own work in progress from Hastings Center research scholars. They participate in professional development workshops with Hastings Center editors and invited experts, receiving guidance on writing for publication and on career opportunities in bioethics research and practice. The goal is to build a collegial community among the Sadler Scholars and between them and our own research staff, helping them, and us, cultivate our scholarship. 

With the leadership of Hastings Center Fellows from around the nation, we offered a five-day bioethics symposium, “Summer Bioethics Program: Toward a More Inclusive Bioethics Community,” which introduced undergraduates who are underrepresented in bioethicsto the core animating questions in our field and encouraged them to identify themes they think the field should take up.  

In June of 2020, Mildred Solomon, president of The Hastings Center, issued a statement “A Perilous Moment for Our Nation,” acknowledging America’s painful history. She committed the Center, and called on the field, to do more to address unconscionable levels of poverty, systemic racism, and other forms of injustice that give rise to health inequities. As we move forward, all staff at The Hastings Center are committed to a sustained effort of learning, changing, and growing in the focus of our scholarship, public engagement, and ways in which we approach our work. We look forward to the next 50 years of bioethics, and pledge to use our platform to bring awareness to the detrimental inequities that plague the fields of science and health care.  


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