DEI Work Group subcommittees
The Charter subcommittee supports the implementation of the DEIWG charter and aims to assure its future growth by:
- Sustaining a skilled, highly engaged, and diverse workforce at all levels in our sphere of influence
- Cultivating an inclusive workplace where employees’ unique talents and perspectives are valued and leveraged
- Ensuring equal opportunity with proactive workplace resolutions
The Training subcommittee will assist in the DEI Work Group’s mission by seeking to empower talented, early career scientists from underrepresented backgrounds to achieve their full potential at VA research facilities. The objective of this workgroup is to provide early career investigators from underrepresented backgrounds with the tools necessary to assume independent research careers in the VA.
Workforce Resources and Opportunities subcommittee
The Workforce Resources and Opportunities subcommittee will assist in the DEI Work Group's mission by establishing workforce development initiatives such as:
- Funding opportunities to engage researchers from underrepresented groups by establishing collaborative partnerships between VA investigators and investigators at non-VA institutions, including, but not limited to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
- Other opportunities for advancing underrepresented investigators at a continuum of stages in their career
- DEI Research Supplements to Promote Diversity: up to 2-year supplements for funded VA Merits to provide funds for mentored research experiences for early career investigators from underrepresented backgrounds
The Data subcommittee is primarily tasked with obtaining baseline metrics and tracking demographic diversity data among VA research workforce, funding awardees, and reviewers of VA funding applications. The subcommittee will also support DEI-relevant research projects by creating surveys, data platforms, analytic programs, and presentation tools.
- Collected, analyzed and presented VA investigator demographic data for ORD service Directors Level Using PowerBi Data Visualization Dashboard
- Analyzed minority health and health disparities research data
- Generated a dataset on ORD staff demographics in collaboration with Workforce Management Office and presented the data to ORD leadership
- Prepared survey questions administered to ORD reviewers to collect demographic data of reviewers
The Communication subcommittee will assist the DEI Work Group to disseminate information on ORD's mission to support and expand diversity in VA research, improve training opportunities, and to increase public awareness.
- Developed a newsletter for the DEI Work Group. The inaugural issue was distributed in July 2022, with a future edition planned for December 2022.
- Developed a job-posting database to augment VA Handbook 5005 (“Staffing”), providing information on job boards, websites, and organizations that ORD hiring officials can leverage to help ensure a diverse pool of applicants.
- Formed a Stakeholder Engagement Group to provide feedback and recommendations to the DEI Work Group. An inaugural meeting was held in April 2021 and a second meeting took place in January 2022.
- Facilitated web posting of announcements relating to the Diversity Supplement and QUERI Diversity Initiative, and disseminated a feature article highlighting the 2021 and 2022 supplement awardees.
Education and Professional Development subcommittee
The DEI Work Group's Education and Professional Development subcommittee has:
- Provided ORD employee training and educational opportunities to:
- Improve awareness of issues related to DEI culture (such as different ages, genders, sexual orientation, race, disabilities, etc.)
- Gain deeper insight into the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace
- Understand unconscious biases and barriers to success for all employees
- Built skills so that leaders and employees communicate better with all stakeholders—Veterans, military service members, investigators, etc. (For example, servant leadership workshops and training.)
- Provided funding for educational and professional development training to 7 under-represented investigators in the field.
- Provided funding for group training on DEI topics to 4 VA field research offices
- Evaluated what training may develop future leaders
- Provide mentorship opportunities, research courses, and professional trainings
Health Services Research and Development DEI subcommittee
The HSR&D DEI subcommittee will assist in the DEI Work Group’s mission by promoting a diverse workforce and increase greater representation of underrepresented groups, including racial/ethnic minorities, in health services research.
- Project to enhance diversity and inclusivity in the VA Center for Healthcare and Organization Implementation Research (CHOIR) and create opportunities for students from underrepresented groups by exposing them to health services research and bringing different voices into CHOIR’s research portfolio. This project aims to:
- Form mentorship bonds between CHOIR investigators and students
- Provide opportunities for students to contribute to research projects
- Participate in academic writing efforts
- Gain exposure to, and skills in, varied areas of health services research such as statistics, qualitative methods, and implementation science
- Form collegial relationships and lasting professional connections
- Study to conduct one-hour interviews with COIN investigators and staff from racial/ethnic minority groups. This project aims to:
- Discuss what areas of need exist that training can help improve
- Explore barriers to a successful career that exist as well as any facilitators
- Probe for strengths/weaknesses related to academic mentoring
Minority Health and Health Disparities subcommittee
The Minority Health and Health Disparities subcommittee will assist in the DEI Work Group’s mission by ensuring that needs related to underrepresented populations are integrated into ORD supported activities, and promoting minority health and health disparities research within ORD.
- Ensuring representation for LGBTQ+ issues on the DEI Stakeholder Engagement Board
- Promoting awareness of LGBTQ+ issues
- Communicating ORD-wide interest in minority health & health disparities via standardized language in ORD Requests for Applications (RFAs)
- Developing a supplement to increase recruitment of underrepresented Veteran populations in VA minority health and health disparities research
- Analysis of ORD research on Minority Health & Health Disparities