In my inaugural President’s Message, I reaffirmed the SOT commitment to supporting diversity and inclusiveness in all its activities, while also stating that I would make sure the Society acts to be part of a much-needed change. I would like to share updates on what some of this action will look like.
The SOT Presidential Chain has issued invitations to SOT members of Black and Latinx heritage, asking them to participate in small focus groups to discuss topics related to race, ethnicity, and inclusion within SOT. Recognizing that these topics affect and are of interest to our entire membership—and wanting all members to have a chance to engage in these discussions—the insights gained from the focus groups will be used to develop an agenda for a Society-wide town hall. This town hall is expected to take place in September 2020; all members are invited and welcome to join, and we will make the details known as soon as we are able.
In the meantime, SOT is launching two new recurring blog series.
- The first series, “SOT Program Spotlights,” is aimed at increasing awareness of how SOT programs and activities are focused on addressing and/or supporting the Society’s guiding principles of (1) serving the needs of the scientific discipline and our members to enhance human, animal, and environmental health; (2) life-long learning and intellectual scientific stimulation; (3) diversity of representation in all activities of the Society; and (4) integrity.
- To help promote dialogue and understanding, the second series will contain summaries of articles, reports, and other resources that capture the state of the larger scientific community in relation to topics such as diversity, inclusion, support for early career researchers, and more.
The first entries in both series will be included in upcoming newsletters.
I look forward to continuing our Society’s discussions around important topics affecting the SOT community, and please do not hesitate to contact a member of the SOT leadership team at any time with ideas and suggestions for ways to enhance the Society to benefit our members.