As an international Society, ISAR recognizes and values everyone’s contributions to antiviral research and professional development and strives to welcome all members equally. As a society however, we realize we are as limited by our current diversity as is the scientific community at large. We fully recognize the value of diversity and recognize that diversity within the society and the field of antiviral research will not increase spontaneously at any relevant rate, thus there is now an urgency in tackling the problem. We are therefore implementing a number of initiatives to foster diversity in the Society.
As a first step, the Society has created a diversity committee, chaired by Dr. Ann Kwong. The committee has been tasked with finding the best approaches to increase diversity within the Society and its leadership, as well as in the field of antiviral research in general. ISAR is also implementing, effective immediately, our seventh society award, the Diversity Speaker Award. This Award, for which nominations are already being accepted, aims at increasing diversity in the Society and the field by recognizing a scientist who has made a significant contribution to antiviral research and who comes from a group that has been historically underrepresented in their field of research or the Society.
Beyond any committees, awards, recognition, or financial support, we understand that it is up to each of us to look inward and reflect upon whether we have ever formed an opinion about any person based on some easily identifiable characteristic. We must reflect on whether we have ever unconsciously applied different standards to people based on any such characteristic. As a Society, we understand that we must pay particular attention to the insidious unconscious biases that are unfortunately so pervasive. We thus pledge to make a conscientious effort towards identifying unconscious bias and to then correct it. We recognize the great value in diversity, and the importance of ensuring that everyone feels welcomed, recognized, valued, and appreciated in ISAR.
ISAR is convinced that a richness in cultural backgrounds is essential to ensure the quality, pace, and relevance of antiviral research and development. We are therefore committed to ensuring this richness through increasing our diversity. We acknowledge that ISAR, as should the entire international research community, can and must do more towards increasing diversity. The creation of a society award and a dedicated committee are only the first steps towards achieving this goal. Please stay tuned to hear more about what ISAR will be doing to continue to improve our diversity within our Society.
Kara Carter, Kathie Seley-Radtke, Johan Neyts, September 8, 2020
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The official newsletter of the International Society for Antiviral Research
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