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Diversity and Inclusion: A Major Theme at MLA’18

Diversity Is Being Invited to the Party Quote.png

A variety of content at MLA’ 18 directly addressed diversity and inclusion. Plenary speakers talked about social justice in healthcare, diversity in the profession, health disparities, and the social determinants of health. Beverly Murphy began her term as MLA’s first African American President and two librarians of color, Shannon D. Jones and Gupreet Kaur Rana, began their time on the MLA Board of Directors.

The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force hosted an open forum and an invited fish bowl meeting to better define their role, seek member input on diversity initiatives, and generate feedback from participants’ experiences related to diversity and inclusion. A summary of the forum’s activities is written in an MLA News article by Adela V. Justice.

Other meeting highlights included the following events:

Transforming Libraries Using Implicit Bias Training - This session encouraged participants to consider how the implicit biases we all have as humans can manifest themselves in our behavior and interactions with others.

Transforming Libraries through Diversity and Inclusion - Leading the Way - The panel discussion featured four library leaders who shared how diversity initiatives have been implemented in their libraries and within their larger institutions.

At the Janet Doe Lecture, Elaine R. Martin explored the social responsibilities of medical librarianship and emphasized the continued lack of librarians with diverse backgrounds. She called for decisive action to increase diversity recruitment and foster environments of inclusion.

Dara Richardson-Heron, MD, Chief Engagement Officer of the All of Us Research Initiative, gave an overview of the All of Us Research Program, which will involve recruiting 1 million participants from diverse communities across the US to build one of the world's largest biomedical research data sets.

David Satcher, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist, public health administrator, and the sixteenth Surgeon General, spoke about health disparities and how the social determinants of health affect access to healthcare.

*Image by eluela31 on

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