How MassBio Can Help You Achieve ED&I Excellence in Your Workplace

Jul 30, 2020

By Edie Stringfellow, Director of D&I, MassBio

As you likely know by now, MassBio is expanding our equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) initiative to ensure our work directly addresses systemic racism and the ongoing racial inequity in the life sciences, especially for Black, Brown, and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). More than ever, we are committed to working together with our membership to create change through intentional, actionable, and measurable strategies. Here are our goals and commitment to you:

1) Facilitate opportunities for our members to engage with organizations focused on community justice, workforce development, and health disparities in conjunction with partner organizations, for example:

  • Life Science Cares, a platform for members of the life sciences industry to give back while also giving nonprofits the funds and volunteer power necessary to grow and innovate. LSC connects biopharma companies with organizations that fight poverty and support relief efforts to help Greater Boston neighbors facing challenges during crisis. Please contact Sarah MacDonald for more information.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Disparities Research Unit has compiled a list of (80) community-based statewide organizations that are boots on the ground/rapid response teams that can immediately address issues related to financial trauma, housing, employment, food insecurity, and medical services during times of crisis. Please contact Lauren Cohen for more information on how a biopharma company can adopt a CBO.

2) Work with our partners to grow Project Onramp and create more paid internship positions at Massachusetts life sciences companies for underrepresented, first-generation college students. We are also working with other STEM-related organizations to increase the interest of STEM at the elementary and middle school levels.

3) Provide additional resources and networks to our member companies so they can successfully implement their ED&I strategies. Please visit the MassBio Diversity & Inclusion Resource Center, a centralized hub where you can access tools needed to achieve ED&I excellence in your workplace. In the center, links to the following are available:

  • Affinity Groups, great programs and organizations that support recruiting, retention, development, and ED&I initiatives already in existence in Massachusetts and around the country
  • MassBio’s ERG Report that outlines best practices, from various employee resource groups (ERGs) across the life sciences industry. We believe that shared lessons will benefit the ecosystem and, more importantly, the patient population that we all work every day to serve.
  • You will also find:
    • List of D&I Consultants and Training
    • MassBio D&I Policies 
    • MassBio D&I Thought Leadership
    • Sample Temples, Benchmarking & Surveys
    • Case Studies & Reports

4) Issue a call-to-action for all life sciences company CEOs to sign onto our “Open Letter 2.0—The MassBio CEO Pledge for a More Equitable and Inclusive Life Sciences Industry” and commit themselves to a range of best practices designed to improve equity, diversity, inclusion, and culture inside their company. The Pledge for Racial Equity is designed to be flexible to fit all companies and circumstances with the understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all fix to ED&I.

5) Work with industry leaders to increase diversity in clinical trial participation. Full representation of the U.S. population in clinical trials and studies is critical to ensure the quality of medical care and biomedical research. Unfortunately, the participation rates of racial and ethnic groups and women in clinical trials/studies have not been sufficient. On top of that, over 1,000 clinical trials were disrupted due to COVID-19, but as trials begin to resume this is the perfect time to make diversifying clinical trials a priority.

  • Click here to read how Dr. Raolat Abdulai, Clinical Research Director at Sanofi, believes we can transform clinical trials AND advance equity.
  • Click here for the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (CSDD) Impact Report that talks about how PhRMA member companies are working with the FDA, patient advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders to encourage greater participation in clinical trials.

6) Create a workforce pipeline and industry partnerships with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCUs) – more details to come.

7) Develop an accelerated Master’s program in drug discovery for STEM bachelor’s degree holders seeking advanced degrees necessary for many life sciences careers – work in progress.

8) Implement/scale a supplier diversity program to increase the percentage of company goods and services procured from Minority Business Enterprises. In addition to the competitive discounts and premier customer service offered at a variety of leading vendors through our members-only MassBio Edge program, we strongly encourage companies to include supplier diversity as part of their larger ED&I policies.

Our approach is grounded in a framework that addresses structural racism in population health as well as equity in the workplace. It’s about respecting and appreciating our differences. It’s about how to leverage those diverse perspectives, lifestyles, and backgrounds to drive business and innovation for more patient outcomes. It is about succeeding in a complex ever-evolving marketplace. Expanding ED&I initiatives is a strategic priority.

To learn more, register for our 3rd Annual ED+I Conference where industry leaders will further address the critical role of executive leadership in promoting and cultivating equity, diversity, inclusion, and culture in their companies.  

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