Controlled Release Society Makes Great Strides in DEI Initiatives
2020 displayed the public’s need to fight social injustice, both in the United States and across the world. Like many associations, AH Client Partner, the Controlled Release Society (CRS), heard the call of their members to include more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within their Society.
CRS took the time to listen to its members and took steps to make their vision of a more just association a reality.
Social Justice Beginnings
In order to create more DEI initiatives in the Society, CRS first released its CRS Social Injustice Statement that displays CRS’s commitment to enriching the Society.
“We should all be listening to the anger and frustration over systemic racism and stay focused on ending discrimination,” the statement said. “This is not just an issue in United States – this is a matter of international scale and of importance to all of us across the globe. Now more than ever, we need to come together as a community to strengthen and promote a more balanced society in which all are safe and treated with respect and dignity.”
The statement also explains how CRS will improve the “racial and gender diversity of our Society.”
How CRS is Expanding its DEI Offerings
CRS’s goal is to become an even more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Society.
The CRS board created a task force to improve racial and gender diversity within the Society.
This led to the D&I Virtual Town Hall, held after the Annual Meeting, that lets members of CRS listen and facilitate discussion and understanding within the membership. Members could access an anonymous form for sharing feedback on possible improvements to CRS’ DEI efforts, which created a safe space to do so.
Another goal for CRS was to release an EDI statement that members can reference at anytime on the Society’s website.
The mission statement is a living document that will be refined through CRS member feedback. Some topics in the statement, like the zero-tolerance policy, will be more defined in the future.
“We want to make sure there’s no concerns about what we have done with this mission statement and how it will be applied to members within CRS,” said Morgan Fedorchack, PhD, Assistant Professor Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh and a CRS Representative for Diversity. “So, we are going to be intentional about crafting this statement before we put it out there for all of our members, but this is where we are starting from.”
The Diversity and Inclusion Virtual Town Hall was a success, with members getting to discuss topics that they thought would help CRS grow. In all, six topics were discussed:
- Accessibility to CRS resources and professional opportunities within CRS.
With visibility of resources being a key barrier from accessing resources, this will allow all members of CRS to have access to and be aware of resources that are available to them.
- The possibility of offering a hybrid in-person and virtual Annual Meeting for future conferences.
It was noted that this would help more students who would otherwise not be able to go to Annual Meetings and conference. It was also suggested to add subtitles to the virtual events held by CRS.
- Representation at upper levels of CRS and in awards.
This will include supporting award selection committees by providing a diverse and highly qualified pool of nominees. CRS will increase the awareness of the award nomination process and access more members’ personal networks to find more nominees.
- Supporting trainees and early stage investigators.
This topic will include implicit bias in publishing, hiring, and elsewhere. It also concerns building a network within a close community of researchers as a newcomer.
- Supporting parents with daycare services.
This will include accommodations for nursing mothers who wish to bring a baby to sessions and for any parent who brings a baby to any session. The language that will be used for sessions will also become more inclusive of those who may bring children to meetings.
- Publishing diversity and inclusion information on the CRS website.
A clearly-defined action plan will be provided, along with statistics where possible.
The leadership at CRS is ready to take any action needed to create a safe and equitable Society for its members. As officially stated, “The leaders of our Society are prepared to confront the uncomfortable truths in our world, to create a safe and equitable community for our members, and to actively work for a better tomorrow.”