Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA)

At the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, consistent with the School of Medicine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement, we strive to conduct innovative, ethical research of the highest quality across diverse populations, while fostering an inclusive, collaborative, and unprejudiced1,2 environment in which to educate the next generation of scientists. Accordingly, we, the members of VIPBG, endeavor to create and nurture an environment where all voices are heard. Inclusivity, diversity, equity, and access across personal, scientific, and organizational domains are valued and promoted. These efforts are ongoing and active, requiring continual self-reflection, dialogue, evaluation, and improvement.

Diversity encompasses all aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, ability, socio-economic status, religious beliefs, geographic region, nationality, language, political beliefs, ideas, and values. Collaborative groups who embrace inclusivity benefit from varied perspectives. Indeed, having diversity within a team increases the likelihood of generating prolific, innovative, and impactful scientific output3-5.

We recognize and condemn the practice of eugenics and the historical misuse of psychiatric and behavioral genetics research to justify racist and ableist policies and atrocities. Our educational mission includes reflecting on this past and implementing equitable and just paths forward. As researchers we strive to achieve parity by including diverse samples, and by developing and applying methods to best understand and improve population health for all.

1National Museum of African American History and Culture. Being Antiracist.
2Paradies Y. Whither anti-racism? Ethnic and Racial Studies. 2015;39(1):1-15. Available via ResearchGate:
3Hofstra B, Kulkarni VV, Munoz-Najar Galvez S, He B, Jurafsky D, McFarland DA. The Diversity-Innovation Paradox in Science. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(17):9284-91.
4Swartz TH, Palermo A-GS, Masur SK, Aberg JA. The Science and Value of Diversity: Closing the Gaps in Our Understanding of Inclusion and Diversity. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2019;220(Supplement_2):S33-S41.
5McKinsey & Company. Delivering through Diversity. January 2018.