Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fields of nutrition and obesity: A road map to equity in academia

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Samantha L. Martin, Michelle I. Cardel, Tiffany L. Carson, James O. Hill, Takara Stanley, Steven Grinspoon, Felicia Steger, Loneke T. Blackman Carr, Maxine Ashby-Thompson, Delisha Stewart, Jamy Ard, The Nutrition Obesity Research Center Task Force to Advance the Careers of Researchers from Groups Underrepresented in Academia, Fatima Cody Stanford


Research shows that a diverse faculty improves academic, clinical, and research outcomes in higher education. Despite that, persons in minority groups, usually categorized by race or ethnicity, are underrepresented in academia (URiA). The Nutrition Obesity Research Centers (NORCs), supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, hosted workshops on five separate days in September and October 2020. NORCs convened these workshops to identify barriers and facilitators for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and provide specific recommendations to improve DEI within obesity and nutrition for individuals from URiA groups. Recognized experts on DEI presented each day, after which the NORCs conducted breakout sessions with key stakeholders who engage in nutrition and obesity research. The breakout session groups included early-career investigators, professional societies, and academic leadership. The consensus from the breakout sessions was that glaring inequities affect URiA in nutrition and obesity, particularly related to recruitment, retention, and advancement. Recommendations from the breakout sessions to improve DEI across academia focused on six themes: (1) recruitment, (2) retention, (3) advancement, (4) intersectionality of multiple challenges (e.g., being Black and a woman), (5) funding agencies, and (6) implementation of strategies to address problems related to DEI.