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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan: 2023-2028. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26918.
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INTRODUCTION

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) value diversity in our staff, members, and volunteers; strive to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging; and aim to conduct our work through a diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism1 lens. We define diversity as the broad spectrum of experiences, cultures, and physical attributes within a community, including, but not limited to, race or ancestry, national origin, religion, age, ability, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, and perspective. We define equity as the absence of barriers, biases, and obstacles that impede equal access, fair treatment, and opportunity for contribution by all members of a community. Lastly, we define inclusion as a culture comprising a framework that allows an individual to effectively engage and thrive in a community.2 The values of DEI need to be at the center of our programs, institutional policies and practices, and products. Applying a DEI lens in all that we do strengthens our ability to advise the nation in matters of science, engineering, and medicine in ways that lead to greater impact and innovation.

This DEI Action Plan is a 5-year plan organized by six overarching goals:

  1. Build infrastructure and develop capacity to advance DEI
  2. Foster a culture of inclusion and belonging for staff, Academy members, and volunteers
  3. Enhance DEI in hiring, advancement, and compensation
  4. Apply a DEI lens to programs and initiatives
  5. Diversify Academy members, volunteers, vendors, contractors, and partners
  6. Increase accountability, data transparency, and communication on DEI initiatives
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FIGURE 1 Structure of the DEI Action Plan.

1 Anti-racism is an active, intentional, and dynamic set of actions that dismantle and disrupt racism, which is the combination of policies, practices, attitudes, cultures, and systems that affect individuals, institutions, and structures unequally and that confer power and privilege to certain groups over others, defined according to the social constructions of race and ethnicity. NASEM. 2023. Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations: Beyond Broadening Participation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

2 The framework includes social policies and processes that provide access to opportunities and information, the capacity to influence accepted institutional norms and behaviors, the security in the organization to fully express inherent skills and talent, and the ability to exercise one’s own informal or formal power.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan: 2023-2028. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26918.
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Each goal contains specific objectives, and each objective is associated with specific actions (see Figure 1). This layered design intentionally grounds each action within the broader endeavor of transforming the National Academies to set the standard as an organization that advances DEI in all of its functions and in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).

The DEI Action Plan aligns with one of the tenets outlined in the National Research Council (NRC) Strategic Plan3—to design DEI in all we do. Specifically, Goals 2 and 3 of the DEI Action Plan embody the NRC’s goal to sustain, support, and enhance staff; Goal 4 aligns with the NRC’s goal to build diverse and deep networks of partners to develop a forward-looking portfolio; and Goal 5 aligns with the NRC’s goal to design activities to be diverse and inclusive to enhance impact.

The DEI Action Plan is the culmination of coordinated efforts from 2021–2022 that established a collective vision for DEI at the National Academies. The plan defines concrete steps toward achieving that vision. To develop the action plan, a series of listening sessions with staff, Academy members, and volunteers was organized, along with a convening of diverse experts on advancing DEI and anti-racism in STEMM fields with a focus on practical applications for the National Academies, an organization-wide DEI staff questionnaire which was used to identify top priorities, and a review of evidence-based organizational practices for advancing DEI. Additionally, the NRC Governing Board, leaders, and staff throughout the National Academies reviewed the action plan and provided valuable feedback. With this broad input, the DEI Action Plan was compiled by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), which was created in 2021, in collaboration with the newly established DEI Council.4 The mission of the ODI is to foster and embed a culture that values DEI within the organization and across the STEMM fields through the implementation of inclusive practices and evidence-based strategies.

To achieve a culture that prioritizes and values DEI, we must build capacity throughout the entire organization by examining our policies and practices through a DEI and anti-racism lens, using evidence to enhance policies and practices, and empowering staff with tools and resources. While each goal will be supported by the ODI, achieving the six goals will require engagement and commitment from all staff throughout the organization, including leaders, Academy members, and volunteers. Although the action plan itself is newly formed, the National Academies have been on a journey to advance DEI for many years. Thanks to the hard work of many, we have nearly achieved the first goal and we’re making significant progress on our other goals. Building on this foundation, the DEI Action Plan’s implementation will continue, with goals, objectives, and actions being prioritized based on the organization’s needs and abilities.

With the launch of the DEI Action Plan, a major focus of the DEI Council now turns to supporting implementation and assisting with communication and accountability efforts. The ODI and the DEI Council will partner with leaders and staff throughout the organization on efforts such as determining the details of the actions in the plan. Details—including project leads, tasks, timelines, deliverables, and ways to measure progress—will be compiled into a set of spreadsheets called DEI Action Plan Trackers. These spreadsheets will generate a single, comprehensive DEI Action Dashboard that summarizes our progress and outcomes related to each goal. These tools will facilitate transparency, action, and accountability.

The DEI Action Plan begins with an overview of the six overarching goals, followed by each goal’s objectives and actions. If you have any questions about the DEI Action Plan, please reach out to the ODI at diversity@nas.edu.


3 The National Research Council (NRC) Strategic Plan sets the vision, mission, core values, and strategic goals to guide the National Academies over a 5-year period (2021–2026).

4 The DEI Council is comprised of staff from National Research Council (NRC) Divisions, Academies, and Offices. The council equitably and inclusively represents the diverse voices of staff.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan: 2023-2028. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26918.
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Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan: 2023-2028. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26918.
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The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its first Annual Report in 2022, which documents the institution’s efforts to build capacity to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), including the establishment of the inaugural ODI. This publication lays out a comprehensive plan to chart a path toward achieving our goals and objectives. This 5-year DEI Action Plan reflects our commitment to systemic change and accountability as we pursue DEI and anti-racism efforts in our programs, institutional policies and practices, and products.

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