The National Institutes of Health needs to do a better job of tackling the underlying culture that enables sexual harassment in science, a working group assembled by the agency concluded during its first meeting.
The newly assembled working group of the advisory council to the director (ACD) on changing the culture to end sexual harassment heard from a range of experts, including Dr. BethAnn McLaughlin, who has been a leader of the #MeTooSTEM movement.
"We can do better. We must do better," a letter signed by the working group which includes NIH Director Francis Collins read.
The group also issued an apology for the role the NIH has played in perpetuating a culture that allowed sexual harassment. They pointed to a 2018 report from the National Academies, which found no evidence that current policies, procedures and approaches have significantly reduced sexual harassment in academic sciences, engineering and medicine.
The working group includes the Lawrence Tabak, chairman of the NIH Anti-Harassment Committee, Carrie Wolinetz, acting chief of staff and associate director for science policy. It also includes Michael Lauer, M.D., deputy director for extramural research, Michael Gottesman, M.D., the deputy director for intramural research, Hannah Valantine, M.D., the chief officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity and Alfred Johnson, deputy director for management.