Austin Gray, SETAC North America Career Development Committee Chair; Latonya Jackson, SETAC North America Inclusive Diversity Committee Chair; and Sharon Hartzell, SETAC North America Early Career Committee Vice Chair

Over the past few months, members of the SETAC North America Career Development Committee (CDC) have been working towards forming an affinity group focused on improving the representation and experiences of various groups within the society. Out of this discussion, we are in the early stages of developing the Inclusive Diversity (ID) Committee. Initiated by professionals from underrepresented groups in SETAC North America, the ID Committee has been approved as an ad hoc committee under the auspices of the CDC, with the intent of becoming a full-standing committee in the near future.

The ID committee wishes to serve minority groups that include but are not limited to Native-Americans, Alaskan Natives, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Latino-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Native and Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, and Native and Indigenous Peoples of Canada. Along with those underserved ethnic groups, the committee is dedicated to serving members who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and others). The CDC is charged with the fostering of mentorship and professional development of all members of SETAC North America. Due to this specific focus, the ID ad hoc committee is currently housed under the umbrella of the CDC.

This committee serves as a focal point for interaction among underrepresented environmental toxicologists and chemists in North America with emphasis on outreach to these groups. SETAC is dedicated to promoting diversity among its members and welcomes and encourages participation from all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, age, national origin, or physical or mental differences. While SETAC North America has made great strides in the inclusion of those from diverse backgrounds, we feel there is a large need to have a committee focused on helping to further cultivate a society built on mutual respect, tolerance, encouragement, mentorship and diversity in all levels and areas of societal activity, including but not limited to programming, membership, leadership, committees, staff, etc. We believe a group such as this will help not only change the collective demographic of SETAC North America but will also foster a new era of scientific collaborations with those who may not have normally been involved or afforded such opportunities. As society changes and becomes more accepting and inclusive of those from different backgrounds, it is important for SETAC to do the same.

We must work towards creating an atmosphere that is welcoming and inclusive, and building a society that is proactive in addressing the needs of all its members. We also ask members from SETAC North America to provide input on what you think the purpose and objective of this group should be. Along with this input, if you are interested in serving on this committee or wish to represent those from the groups previously mentioned, please email CDC Chair Austin Gray and ID Chair Latonya Jackson.

Authors’ contact information: adgray2@uncg.edu, ljackson@philander.edu and sharon.e.hartzell@gmail.com

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