Launched in February 2018, the Diversity Speaker Series is designed to recognize and acknowledge the Special Emphasis Portfolios, as designed by the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and to place special emphasis on positive, equitable, and inclusive employment experiences for federally identified and underrepresented groups. Through this speaker series, we hope to provide educational and cultural/sensitivity awareness opportunities for NIEHS and surrounding communities.
Recognition Months and Special Emphasis Portfolios
Each group has a traditional month for recognition. Speakers are invited to present their work and/or their story with focus on the identified portfolio during the associated month.
|Month||Recognition||Special Emphasis Portfolio|
|February||Black History Month||Black/African Americans|
|March||Women’s History Month||Women|
|May||Asian Pacific American Heritage Month||Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders|
|June||Pride Month||Sexual and Gender Minorities/LGBTQIA|
|Hispanic Heritage Month||Hispanics|
|October||National Disability Employment Awareness Month||People with Disabilities|
Speakers from any background, culture, or walk of life can also be invited at any time of year. Recognition, acknowledgement, and celebration are everyday events!
|November 30, 2021||2021 NIEHS Diversity Speaker Series: Meet the Strategist for the NIH Special Emphasis Portfolio for Native Americans||Ashley Wells||NIH Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s Special Emphasis Portfolio for Native Americans||Native American Heritage Month|
|September 28, 2021||2021 NIEHS Diversity Speaker Series: Featuring Gerard Roman, Principal Strategist, Hispanic Portfolio||Gerard Roman||NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Hispanic Portfolio||Hispanic Heritage Month|
|June 23, 2021||2021 NIEHS Diversity Speaker Series: A Sexual and Gender Minorities Panel: What Brings Us Here — Experiences and Perspectives Across NIH||Bali White||NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Sexual & Gender Minorities Special Emphasis Portfolio||Pride Month|
|May 13, 2021||2021 NIEHS Diversity Speakers Series: Meet the Principal Strategist for the NIH Special Emphasis Portfolio for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)||Caroline Goon, M.S., M.B.A.||NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Special Emphasis Portfolio for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders||Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month|
|April 5, 2021||NIEHS Diversity Speaker Series: 2021 Spirit Lecture Women Sustaining the American Spirit||Rear Admiral Denise Hinton, Chief Scientist||Food and Drug Administration||Women’s History Month, Spirit Lecture|
|March 24, 2021||Fostering An Inclusive Climate Through Relationships||Joy Postell||NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Special Emphasis Portfolio for Women||Women’s History Month|
|February 24, 2021||Your Best Life Is on the Other Side of Fear: Navigating Life As a Black DEI Practitioner||Samantha-Rae Dickinson, Ed.D., M.P.H.||NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Special Emphasis Portfolio for Black Employees||Black History Month|
|December 2, 2020||NIEHS Families Raising Children With Special Needs: Joys and Challenges Amidst COVID-19||Gwen and David Collman, Cheryl Thompson and Maddy and Jasper Smith, Rhonda and Joseph Carroll||NIEHS||Disability Awareness Month|
|March 2020||Translational Research to Prevent Environmental Threats to Children: From Chemicals to Climate Change||Frederica Perera, Dr.P.H., Ph.D.||Columbia University||Spirit Lecture, Women’s History Month|
|February 2020||Lifting All Boats: How We Can Eliminate Disparities Among Patients and the Doctors Who Treat Them||O. Fayanju, M.D.||Duke University||Black History Month|
|November 2019||Environmental Health Issues Affecting Native American Tribes in the Americas||Trey Saddler, Data Scientist||National Institute of Environmental Sciences||Native American Heritage Month|
|October 2019||From Science to Advocacy||Stella Sieber, B.S., and Nancy Payne, R.N., MSN, CNS, CWCN||Duke University||National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Disability Awareness|
|June 2019||Transgender Health Care||Tonia Poteat, Ph.D., PA-C, M.P.H.||University of North Carolina||Pride Month|
|June 2019||Genetic Journey to Understanding Me||Victor Ruthig, Ph.D.||Duke University||Pride Month|
|March 2019||A Winding Path to a Rewarding Career in Public Health||Germaine Buck Lewis, Ph.D., M.S.||George Mason University||Spirit Lecture, Women’s History Month|
|February 2019||Black Man in a White Coat||Damon Tweedy, M.D.||Duke University||Black History Month|
|October 2018||Many Diverse Voices and Colors Enhancing Our Traditions: Celebrating Hispanic and Latino American Culture, Heritage and Contributions||Alfonso Latoni, Ph.D.||National Institute of Environmental Sciences||Hispanic Heritage Month, Latin Culture|
|March 2018||Developing Individuals With Different Minds||Temple Grandin, Ph.D.||Colorado State University||Spirit Lecture, Women’s History Month|
|February 2018||Strategies to Create Momentum Around Diversity in Higher Education||Sherilynn Joy Black, Ph.D.||Duke University||Black History Month|
Annual NIEHS Spirit Lecture and Award
The Spirit Lecture and Award, inaugurated by the NIEHS Diversity Council in 2002, recognizes outstanding women in science who have achieved balance in their lives. Successfully navigating today’s workplace involves balancing responsibilities for families, jobs, and the multiple roles in which they participate. In addition, these women mentor and provide outreach to the wider community, all of which compete for their time and talents. In recognition of Women’s History Month, the selected honoree is invited to share her experiences with the NIEHS community at an annual talk and award ceremony. The NIEHS Spirit Lecture became a part of the Diversity Speaker Series in 2018.
NIEHS Spirit Lecture Committee
Spirit Lecture Honorees
- 2022 Marie Bernard, M.D., Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH, "Enhancing Diversity and Excellence in Science"
- 2021 RADM Denise Hinton, Chief Scientist, Food and Drug Administration, "Women Sustaining the American Spirit"
- 2020 Frederica Perera, Dr.P.H., Ph.D., Columbia University, “Translational Research to Prevent Environmental Threats to Children: From Chemicals to Climate Change”
- 2019 Germaine Louis, Ph.D., M.S., George Mason University, “A Winding Path to a Rewarding Career in Public Health”
- 2018 Temple Grandin, Ph.D., Colorado State University, “Developing Individuals Who Have Different Kinds of Minds”
- 2017 Jane Fernandez, Ph.D., Guilford College, “Convergence and Balance”
- 2016 Yvonne Maddox, Ph.D., Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, “Building a Meaningful Career: Insights from Precision Medicine”
- 2015 Hannah Valantine, M.D., MRCP, “Lessons Learned From My Career Path: Science to Diversity”
- 2014 Carol Folt, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “From Science to Leadership: Women Leaning In”
- 2013 Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D., Cytonome/ST, "A Life in Science: From Cloning to Cell Therapies"
- 2012 Gail R. Martin, D.Sc., University of California, San Francisco, “From Stem Cells to Complex Patterning in Embryo”
- 2011 Nancy Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University, “Women Sustaining the American Spirit”
- 2010 Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “You Can Have It All”
- 2009 Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D., University of Maryland and John Hopkins, “Climate, Oceans, Infectious Disease and Human Health: The Saga of Cholera”
- 2008 Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Ph.D., University of California, Berkley, “Application of Omics-Based Tools and Microarrays to Optimize Bioremediation”
- 2007 Alice S. Huang, Ph.D., California Institute Technology, “Beyond the Numbers: Where are We Going?”
- 2006 Nora Volkow, M.D., “National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Addiction: The Neurobiology of Free Will Gone Awry”
- 2005 Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), “Women in Science: Making Choices and Taking Chances”
- 2003 Rev. Donna M. Claycomb, M.Div, D.Min, Duke University, “For Such a Time as This”
Ericka L. Reid, Ph.D., M.Ed.
Director, Office of Science Education & Diversity
P.O. Box 12233Mail Drop B2-06Durham, N.C. 27709
Suzy S. Osborne, R.N.
Program Analyst, Office of Science Education & Diversity
P.O. Box 12233Mail Drop B2-06Durham, N.C. 27709