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 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.
In an effort to center anti-racism 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. Regarding public engagement, we created a webinar series entitled “Securing Health in a Troubled Time: Ethics, Equity and the Common Good.” To date, we have presented four events with national experts examining inequity in public health. Our scholars have designed and carried out a public series on disability justice, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, called “The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability,” in which scholars and guests explore how technologies are used by disabled people. On November 17, 2021, Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents and The Warmth of Other Suns:The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, will launch a two-day Health Equity Symposium, designed by The Hastings Center, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and other generous sponsors. We will continue to offer many more series exploring issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity.
In scholarship, our journal editors, along with Hastings Center scholars and external collaborators, are developing the first of a planned set of three special reports on Justice in Health. Each report will be followed by public conversation composed of diverse leaders in bioethics, the social sciences, history of medicine, and other relevant disciplines. The first of these reports will be published this year with generous funding from The Greenwall Foundation.
We have also taken steps to build a pipeline for new scholars of color within our field. In July 2021, we launched the Sadler Scholars initiative, in which six outstanding PhD students joined our staff for discussions about their ongoing dissertation research. The goal is to build a collegial community among the Sadler Scholars and between them and our own research staff. We are also currently planning an educational experience for college undergraduates of color and those who come from underserved communities. In summer of 2022, with the leadership of Hastings Center Fellows from around the nation, we will offer a four-day bioethics symposium which will introduce these young people to the core animating questions in our field and encourage them to identify themes they think the field should take up.
In our effort to address crucial DEI issues within our own organization, we have engaged Dr. Morgan Jenkins, principal consultant of FreemanJ & Associates, LLC. Dr. Jenkins has worked in DEI for over 5 years and has a doctorate in executive and transformational leadership. With Dr. Jenkins’ guidance, we are examining and executing our short-term goals by surveying our staff, identifying objectives in hiring practices, and exploring the benefits of hiring a longer-term DEI advisor. As we move forward, all staff at The Hastings Center have begun trainings that help us understand issues of anti-bias and anti-racism. We 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 medicine.