The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) has long been committed to diversity and inclusion in the sciences. To that end, I want to affirm NINR’s strong support of the recent statement by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, in which he called for ending the tradition of all-male speaking panels. I could not agree more.
At NINR, we have a unique perspective on this issue. Because of the demographics of the nursing field, NINR primarily funds women scientists. The outstanding contributions of women to science, and the importance of including women as experts on scientific panels, has been self-evident to the nursing science community for decades. I am proud that we are leaders in this area, and I am proud of NINR’s track record in training and supporting the research careers of outstanding women leaders in science. With this new emphasis on diversifying speaking panels, I believe the nursing science community has much expertise to offer, and I would encourage the larger community to take full advantage of that expertise.
I know that we have more work to do with other groups underrepresented in nursing science, including racial and ethnic minorities. NINR has taken significant steps to improve representation through our grants, career development, and training programs. We will continue to explore new approaches to achieving full participation.
NINR and the nursing research field have always understood that science will not reach its full potential until women and other groups underrepresented in science are allowed to reach their full potential. I applaud Dr. Collins for leading on this issue, and I look forward to a new era in science where all voices are heard.
Ann K. Cashion, PhD, RN, FAAN
National Institute of Nursing Research
National Institutes of Health