Making Connections: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Communities of Color, Recognizing Underrepresentation of Minority Data in Genome-Wide Association Studies, and Supporting Researchers That Are Visually Impaired

By Suzanne Fitzpatrick posted 16 days ago


As part of the SOT commitment to supporting diversity and inclusiveness, as well as to help promote dialogue and understanding, the Society presents this recurring blog series dubbed “Making Connections.” This series contains summaries of articles, reports, and other resources that offer professional development insights and capture the state of the larger scientific community in relation to topics such as diversity, inclusion, support for early career researchers, and more.

Conversations on COVID-19: Impacts on Communities of Color

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Conversations on COVID-19: Impacts on Community of Color provides research, resources, and information related to human equity. In this new series, the National Academies have gathered thinkers and experts to discuss minority health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Don’t Ignore Genetic Data from Minority Populations”

A Nature Career Column examines minority group underrepresentation in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and finds that even though minority group data is available, it is sometimes discarded by researchers. Nature examined publications that used data found in either the UK Biobank or US Health and Retirement Study and found that 45 of 58 studies excluded minority group data. To address this issue, the columnists suggest changes to analysis and publications conventions: (1) be transparent on why data is being excluded; (2) provide relevant and compelling reasons for the exclusions; (3) have journals mandate that submitted manuscripts include justification for exclusions; and (4) make revisions to the researchers’ methodologies on choosing which data to use.

“House Science Should Support Researchers with Visual Impairments”

In a Nature Career Column, Naheda Sahtout, PhD, writes about her experiences being a legally blind scientist and suggests that science should support more researchers like her. She argues that visually impaired researchers should not be denied opportunities in STEM fields because of their condition. Further, Dr. Sahtout suggests that conversations need to be had in order for graduate education and research programs to be accessible and equitable. She also suggests asking individuals with visual impairments what they need to be able to perform at their best.

This blog is being shared as part of the SOT roles and responsibilities assigned to the author based on the leadership position held. The viewpoints and expertise expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and expertise of the listed author.